NEC Unveils Methanol-Fueled Laptop
from the tradeoffs dept
NEC has now stepped up to the plate and demonstrated a prototype of their methanol fuel cell powered laptop. They say a single fuel cell will keep the laptop running for about five hours. I still question the commonly held belief that everyone wants this. While short battery life is a pain – I’m not sure having to “refuel” or buy more fuel cells is going to be the solution that the average consumer wants either. The reason people like rechargeable batteries is that they don’t have to keep buying more batteries to keep something running. With fuel cells, you constantly need an extra supply of fuel with you (which, since they come in cartridges, most people will just think of as disposable batteries). The trend for most devices has been to go from disposable batteries to rechargeable batteries. Do we really want to go the other direction for laptops? It really comes down to a trade-off between short battery life and having to constantly buy new “batteries”. In my case, I’ll live with the shorter battery life, if it means I don’t have to constantly buy more fuel cells.