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Sony Hybrid Fuel Cell System  (Source: TechOn)
Sony plans to commercialize the hybrid fuel cell system for mobile devices

Fuel cells are one of the items that will change the face of the electronics industry forever once they finally start making their way into electronic devices. Sony unveiled its own ultra-small hybrid fuel cell system that is small enough to fit in one hand.

The fuel cell system measures 50mm x 30mm and combines a fuel cell, Li-polymer secondary battery and a control circuit. According to TechOn this is the first time Sony has shown off a complete fuel cell system that has a control circuit and secondary battery.

Sony says that it expects to commercialize the fuel cell and an engineer from the Sony material Laboratory said, “We have been aiming to mount (a fuel-cell system) in mobile devices and finally reached a level of commercial design.” The fuel cell runs on methanol.

Methanol also powers the Mobion fuel cell that DailyTech covered last week that was integrated into a GPS prototype. However, the Mobion fuel cell is passive and the Sony fuel cell is active with a pump to move the methanol. Sony’s didn’t comment specifically on its fuel cell power output, but does say output can be as high as 3W.

According to Sony, 3W is enough power for a mobile device. The fuel cell is said to be able to run 14 hours in a mobile phone on 10mL of methanol. It’s not entirely clear if the fuel cell will power electronic devices directly or if it will charge the internal Li-ion battery, which will in turn power the electronic device the fuel cell is integrated into. The battery could also be used as a type of backup power system.

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RE: Methanol - never heard of it
By Schrag4 on 5/5/2008 11:58:12 AM , Rating: 2
You're right about current battery technology having some nasty stuff in them, but they're a little harder to crack open and drink. Sure, we have other alcohol products in our houses that may be just as dangerous, but we're not asking 'little billy' to go ahead and pour some of it into their toys to get them working again. Instead, they're in a child-safe cabinet.

So the main advantage of methonal is that it can be stored in liquid form at room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure, right? I guess that's a huge advantage over Hydrogen, right? Again, I'm a total chemistry nüb.

Also, methanol goes into the fuel cell, electricity and _______ (what?) comes out. Do I need a diaper for my cell phone?

RE: Methanol - never heard of it
By bldckstark on 5/5/2008 12:23:56 PM , Rating: 5
You are assuming that the operator will be pouring methanol into the device. It may have some type of replaceable tank, or if it is marketed by Apple, you will have to send it in to get it replaced every two days.

RE: Methanol - never heard of it
By comc49 on 5/5/2008 6:19:50 PM , Rating: 1
i laughed out loud

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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