fuel cells — the way forward for charging mobile devices?
Scientists have spent years trying to develop alternatives to lithium-ion batteries and have high hopes for fuel cells.
After many setbacks, a small Silicon Valley company said fuel cells could indeed be the way forward.
Fuel cells cannot store charges compared to conventional lithium-ion batteries, but they do offer many other advantages.
Fuel cells are easier and cheaper to make and you don\'t need a wall outlet to fill the fuel cells.
Fuel cells use gas such as methanol or hydrogen to power, and they also have a lot more environment --
Friendly than ordinary mobile batteries.
Fuel cells generate electricity in the chemical reaction of hydrogen or methanol combined with oxygen.
In this process, electric energy is released and can be used to supply power to the equipment.
Together with electronics companies such as Toshiba and Samsung, the fraunhove Institute in Germany is trying to develop new fuel cells to make the technology more suitable for portable consumer goods.
But after many ambitious research projects, the excitement has cooled, at least for laptop makers.
Just a few years ago, it seemed to have made a major breakthrough.
At 2007 Samsung created a prototype laptop powered by methanolfuelled cell.
The manufacturer says it can power a laptop for up to a month.
But the technology has never entered the store, and Samsung is not prepared to say whether it has successfully developed the prototype further.
Many unresolved issues and technical issues prevent fuel cells
Mobile devices launched from the consumer market.
\"Electronic manufacturers have become more careful in announcements,\" said Ulf Groos of the fraunhove Institute . \".
Failure to meet expectations has happened too often, but no one has given up on fuel cells because they offer so many advantages over batteries.
The heat generated by the fuel cell is an unsolved problem.
Reducing the size of fuel cells is also a problem, according to Groos.
\"We haven\'t managed to integrate them into the device yet.
\"The fuel cell is still too big to fit into a small mobile device.
A few years ago, Toshiba launched a fuel cell, which is as big as the laptop it drives.
Joberg Wirtgen, editor of the German computer magazine c\'t, does not believe that a major breakthrough will occur soon.
\"It may take at least five years before we have products that are suitable for the market.
At the same time, Wirtgen believes that lithium-ion batteries that can be installed in very flat laptops such as Apple\'s Macbook Air will continue to have their own batteries.
The manufacturing cost of lithium-ion batteries is quite high, but their form factor is more suitable for installation than conventional batteries.
Researchers are working on alternatives to integrated batteries, which will result in external fuel cell charging stations.
A year ago, Toshiba launched a mobile methanol fuel cell charger to charge a laptop with a USB cable.
The device, known as Dynario, was put on the market as part of the test run, with about 3,000 units, but no news has been heard since.
Groos believes that if developers cannot integrate fuel cells into mobile devices, the use of fuel cells will be limited.
Experts believe that the market for external fuel cell chargers will be very small.
\"External solutions are more suitable for the Arctic --
\"Just like adventure, it took you weeks to stay away from the power outlet,\" said Wirtgen . \". But in mid-
In November, when a small California company announced that it would launch its first product, Lilliputian Systems reignited a debate over fuel cells. The start-
Up says it has developed a silicon-based technology that uses recyclable fuel cell cartridges.
New eco-friendly battery compared to lithium ion battery
According to the Lilliputian system, friendly fuel cells will provide five to ten times as much power.
According to its designers, the new fuel cell will be suitable both as an external charger and as an integrated power supply for laptops.
Intel, the chip maker, is taking the announcement seriously and has taken a stake in Lilliputian Systems to inject capital into the company.