Mobion is one of the many manufacturers working to bring fuel cells to consumer electronic devices. The fuel cell is seen by many to be the key to ending the need for batteries in all sorts of devices from cell phones to laptop computers.
The Mobion fuel cell uses MTI Micro’s proprietary Mobion chip architecture to reduce the complexity of the internal construction of the fuel cell making them cheaper to produce. The chip integrates a power module with fluid conditioning allowing the fuel cell to operate in temperatures from 0C to 40C and operate in any humidity levels.
The Mobion chip is 100% methanol feed based and operates on a passive direct methanol fuel cell technology. The entire Mobion chip size is only 9cc and can fit in the palm of a hand. MTI Micro says that the Mobion fuel cell can produce 50mW/cm2 and 1.4whr per cc of fuel. The chip weighs less than one ounce.
The first consumer product prototype to put the Mobion fuel cell into use is the new Mobion powered GPS prototype that MTI Micro is showing off. MTI Micro says that its Mobion powered GPS unit provides three times the energy of a similar GPS unit using four AA batteries.
According to MTI Micro a typical AA powered GPS device can operate for days and its Mobion prototype can operate for weeks. The GPS device is rated for 60 continuous hours of use and the device can run indefinitely as long as methanol is on hand. There is no recharge period; all that has to be done is add more methanol. One huge added feature is that the prototype has a USB port capable of charging and USB device on the go.
MTI Micro president and CEO Peng Lim said in a statement, “MTI Micro is exploring the integration of our Mobion® platform with GPS devices as part of our strategy to bring micro fuel cell technology to a wide range of portable consumer electronic device market segments. Battery life is a key issue with handheld GPS devices, especially as manufacturers add advanced energy-hungry features to new models, such as larger full color screens. Our Mobion® powered GPS prototype will provide handheld GPS users such as hikers and campers, travelers, boaters, pilots and other sports enthusiasts the peace of mind of much longer usage time and will help them do away with the expense, bulk and environmental unfriendliness of conventional batteries."
MTI Micro had no comment on when the Mobion fuel cell powered GPS device would be available or how much the device would cost.
quote: GM and a partner are currently working on a method that could produce methanol for as little at $1 per gallon.