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Samsung DMFC circa 2006  (Source: Samsung)

Samsung DMFC circa 2007  (Source: AVING USA)
Samsung's slimmer fuel cell design can power a notebook for up to a month

Toshiba and Samsung have been working on ways to rid customers of traditional lithium-ion batteries used in notebook computers. Both companies are looking towards fuel cells and the technology is very promising.

Samsung displayed a version of its Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) in late December that was capable of powering a Q35 ultra-portable notebook eight hours a day for a month. The fuel cell, which contained an energy density of 650Wh/L and total energy storage of 1,200Wh, was contained in a rather large box that was nearly as wide as the notebook and roughly twice as tall.

Samsung has made great strides to perfect its DMFC and recently showcased an even smaller design at its company showroom. Samsung appears to have shaved a few inches off the device in length/width/height. The DMFC now looks to be roughly the size of a couple of extended batteries stacked side by side.

Samsung reports that the fuel cell is still capable of operating a notebook for up to a month.

Despite the advances being made in fuel cell technology, we are still a few years away from fuel cells being commercially viable.

"Though we still need to solve ‘going smaller and sturdier’ issues, I think that we have made a technical quantum leap in commercialization," said SAIT VP Dr. Hyuk Change in November. "Within 2~3 years, the fuel cells including those for laptops currently in development with Samsung SDI will be widely used as it is forecasted to acquire a stable market with lower price lines."

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RE: Questions?
By MonkeyPaw on 8/13/2007 10:08:10 AM , Rating: 5
Would you prefer to lug around a big generator as well? A methanol fuel cell isn't for the power business user that only needs a few hours between plug-ins (like you could get something as flamable as methanol on an airplane anyway). No, such a product would be quite valuable if you need a computer where there is no power. Imagine doing research in a remote area, or working in disaster relief where utilities are down (or non-existent). In such situations, a few kg of Methanol would be considered a reasonable burden and necessary for the task at hand.

It would be nice to just plug your laptop into the sand and get power, but believe it or not, not everywhere has readily available electricity, so sacrifices are necessary.

RE: Questions?
By NEOCortex on 8/13/2007 3:19:32 PM , Rating: 2
I seem to remember that the FAA or some other government body putting methanol on the "list" of acceptable chemicals allowed on board a plane for just theses purposes (i.e. DMFCs). The push behind commercializing these kinds of fuel cells is quite strong actually.

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