A Membrane To Power Your Mobile Phone?

from the and-so...? dept

Roland Piquepaille writes “In “Membrane could rev up fuel cell industry,” CNET News.com writes that “start-up PolyFuel has commercially released a membrane for creating fuel cells for laptops and cell phones, a milestone in the budding fuel cell industry.” But neither the article nor PolyFuel’s website provide information about pricing and general availability. So it’s hard to guess if this product will become a hit and if your next cell phone or PDA will be powered by such a device. My blog contains short excerpts and a diagram of the Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) prototype that replaced a lithium-ion battery on a mobile phone.” I still think that fuel cells are being overhyped to some extent. Yes, they are useful for times when people will want to use their laptops or mobile phones for extended periods of time. However, the reason people like rechargeable batteries was because they hate the idea of having to constantly buy and replace batteries. While a fuel cell will last longer, in the minds of most people it will now just be a longer life battery that isn’t rechargeable. It would be great to have the option of both. That is, there will be some situations (long trips) where I’ll want to use a fuel cell – but most of the time, I’ll be happy with a nice rechargeable battery.

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Comments on “A Membrane To Power Your Mobile Phone?”

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Tim Oren (user link) says:


Most of the mobile direct meth designs I’ve seen (been pitched on) involve a refill cartridge about the size and shape of a cig lighter, leaving the remainder of the fuel cell intact. While I suspect the release dates and initial sell-in of DMFCs is a bit over-hyped, once they begin to get traction there will be mobile equipment vendors who take advantage of the ability to break loose from the energy budget restrictions of NiMH and other rechargeable battery tech. This will make the fuel cell option harder to avoid for users of high end gear. We’ll see if the market likes the tradeoff….

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Refillable

Yes, but the refillable cartridge will, in the mind of most consumers, be considered “the battery” – even though it’s technically very different. Conceptually, it’s the same thing. Instead of buying batteries, they’re buying cartridges. Instead of replacing batteries, they’re replacing cartridges…. Rechargeable and refillable are different.

The question is whether or not the longer life makes refilling not such a big deal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Refillable

And exactly how much methanol do you have to spill on your skin whist refilling your cell phone before you go blind? A lot (75g), but not if you spill the refill can on your lap.

Talk about product liability! Who is going to sell the refill cartridges and expose themselves to that time bomb?

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