Fuel cell for consumers

MTI MicroFuel Cells is developing a micro fuel cell that it’s targeting for deployment into commercial products by 2009.

MTI MicroFuel Cells is developing a micro fuel cell called Mobion that it’s targeting for deployment into commercial products by 2009.

The Mobion fuel cell integrates a power module with fluid conditioning that allows the system to run in a wide environmental range including temperatures from 0C to 40C at any humidity level – an industry standard and a requirement of many OEMs who want to integrate fuel cells into their products.

The fuel cell is based on 100% methanol feed, passive, direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) technology that the company believes will ultimately enable it to power portable devices longer than lithium-ion batteries, while also allowing for cord-free re-charging.

The injection moulded Mobion is presently being designed for high-volume mass manufacturing. In addition, MTI Micro´s team has continued integrating more functionality into the device while reducing its part count, ultimately achieving one moulded piece. The company has also reduced the size of the unit by over 40 per cent to 9cc (small enough to fit in the palm of a hand) from 16cc six months ago.

In laboratory testing, the early version of the device demonstrated a power of over 50 mW/cm2 while producing 1.4 Wh/cc of energy from the fuel.

Recently, MTI  received Notices of Allowance from the US Patent and Trademark Office for two key patent applications relating to the design and development of the Mobion – the “Direct Feed of Concentrated Fuel Under Passive Water Management” and the “Simplified Direct Oxidation Fuel Cell System”.

These patents, along with others that are pending, make it possible to operate the chips without the need for fuel recirculation or water retrieval and pumping – two issues that have complicated the development of DMFCs and made it difficult to reduce their size. Altogether, the company has filed more than 85 patents.