Fuel cells move closer to commercialisation

MTI MicroFuel Cells has demonstrated a direct methanol micro fuel cell prototype system that requires no pumps and works in any orientation.

MTI MicroFuel Cells (MTI Micro) has demonstrated a direct methanol micro fuel cell prototype system that requires no pumps and works in any orientation.

The prototype achieved 0.24 watt-hours per cubic centimetre (‘cc’) of fuel consumed and is projected to yield up to five watt-hours of energy content.

The design combined a fuel cell, a proprietary DC-DC converter running at greater than 90% efficiency, a replaceable fuel cartridge, and controls for both the charging process and the fuel feed rate.

Because it was designed to function as an auxiliary charger or battery extension pack, the prototype did not contain a small battery which was included in past prototypes.

MTI Micro completed the prototype two months ahead of schedule and met its stated milestone of a 50% reduction in size from that of an earlier October 2001 prototype. The fuel cell system prototype is MTI Micro’s third and half the size of the prototype the company showed just 10 months ago.

The company plans to commercialise direct methanol micro fuel cells in 2004, providing an alternative power source for portable electronic devices including cell phones, laptops, PDAs, and other handheld electronic devices used in consumer, commercial, and military markets.

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