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Laptop Fuel Cells Coming Soon 181

Posted by Zonk
from the whacking-people-over-the-head dept.
tomsastroblog writes "Soon laptop batteries could last all day and be recharged from a cartridge. BBC News has a piece on fuel cells as laptop batteries, and what their adoption could mean for laptop usage." From the article: "At the Cebit technology fair in Hanover, Taiwanese hi-tech firm Antig said its fuel cells should be on the shelves of computer shops by early 2007. The first versions of the methanol-using units should keep a laptop going for up to nine hours. Fuel cell technology got a boost recently when international air flight regulators changed rules that banned passengers from carrying flammable methanol onto aircraft."
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Laptop Fuel Cells Coming Soon

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  • eheheh (Score:5, Funny)

    by soapdog (773638) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:48PM (#14899139) Homepage
    gives a whole new meaning to "this laptop is burning my legs..." sorry could not resist...
  • Price and Stocks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by komodo9 (577710) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:49PM (#14899143) Homepage
    I especially like the ability for them to fit into existing laptops (in the media bay), rather than only working with new, specially-designed laptops. Overall it sounds great, however expensive. It'd probably be years before they can get the price down to a reasonable level. Either way, it might not be a bad idea to go invest in fuel cell stocks now. :)
    --
    BMW Forum [unitedbimmer.com]
    • Re:Price and Stocks (Score:3, Informative)

      by mtenhagen (450608)
      Well methanol isnt that expensive. You will probably be sued if you start refilling cartridges but the methanol price is not the issue.

      Europe (Valid through March 31, 2006)
      European Posted Contract Price Euro 268/MT

      North America (Valid through March 31, 2006)
      Methanex Non-Discounted Reference Price USD 1.07/Gal* USD 356/MT

      Asia Pacific (Valid through March 31, 2006)
      Asian Posted
      • *slaps forehead*

        I think he may have been talking about the price of the technology, not the price of methanol as fuel.
      • Now what on earth is a "MT" ??

        Is this some sort of methanol specific unit ? What does it translate to in SI units ?

    • I don't. You know, I put MEDIA DEVICES in my media bay. How am I supposed to watch a DVD without my drive in there? Why not in the BATTERY tray, something I won't be needing while this device is in.
      • I think that most laptop media bays are the same size, while most battery bays are different size. I read somewhere on a support forum that basically all laptop optical drives are the same size, with a different bezel on the end of the tray. If that's so, then this will be a lot cheaper to produce.

        That said, I would definitely prefer it in the battery bay.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...again...

    Seriously, hasn't this appeared every few months for the last 2 years? Can't we have stories about products being 'here' - and preferably built in, rather than having a giant can of Zippo hanging off the side?

    I'll get modded down as Cynical or something, but any way you view it, it's true...
    • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:04PM (#14899220) Homepage Journal
      I can understand your possible burnout on the topic, but I think that Slashdot is generally read by people who are interested in cutting edge tech. If the editors only posted articles about things that had already been produced then this would be nothing more than a consumer review site.

      As for the "giant can of Zippo," yes, we would all like to have a fuel cell battery that lasts for a week and fits right into the old battery slot, but cut them a little slack. It's a new thing and it's bound to improve and the fact that there may be a laptop fuel cell at all in the near future is pretty interesting.

  • Dupe (Score:1, Redundant)

    by SirDaShadow (603846)
    Ok, So when the hell are these coming? This is like the second article about it in less than 2 weeks or so. Dupe!
    • These people start to sound just like the guys with the flying car and tabletop fusion -- it is always "just around the corner", "any day now", "start investing today!"...sheesh!
      • Yes, I'm getting a tad tired of the "Fuel cells in laptops next week" articles. Looking through the archives I see we were having the same discussion in June of 2004. I believe Toshiba was demoing a fuel cell laptop around that time. It has very much become a "I'll believe it when I see them on the shelf" situation.
  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:52PM (#14899159)
    Most laptop owners don't sit in a proverbial flower field and run their laptops.

    Hence, what % of laptop owners would buy a new and no doubt very expensive methanol fuel cell module &, expensive methanol (prepackaged of course), and this assumes a properly package fuel cell module is available for your particular Laptop.

    If it leaks and destroys your laptop is it covered by a warranty that replaces your laptop?

    Lots of unanswered questions
    • by Firehed (942385) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:21PM (#14899271) Homepage
      The reason I'm selling my old laptop on eBay right now is that the battery life is horrid. Now of course 1.5 hours is on the low end of bad nowadays, but I'm really looking for something that should last for a full day of school. While I may not be in some field of flowers, longer battery life is a must for me. I'd say it's just as important as, if not more important than the price of the thing. I don't need a powerhouse (I've got my desktop for that) but being able to get some work done on the go is extremely important for me. I know there are some units available rated for six hours, but that's probably time spent just sitting at the desktop.... I need to at least be able to have a word processor or spreadsheet open. I'd imagine every other soon-to-be college student in the world is looking for that at the very least, not to mention most people that are looking for a laptop that's not to act as a DTR.

      Most people wouldn't care whether it's a micro-fusion reactor in their laptop or a flock of nano-gerbils on micro-running-wheels as long as they get good life out of the thing. Well I suppose PETA would take some offense to the latter, but they don't need to know. Point being, for most people, having a laptop is all about mobility, and for the most part battery life is the main issue that comes into play, probably with network access coming in next.

      • Gateway CX2618 Tablet PC. 14" widescreen, more than 6-hours battery with regular use (and that's in my experience, not on the box), Pentium M 1.6ghz, 1gb RAM, DVD burner, 128mb video, and it's a Tablet, for crying out loud. Runs almost silent. Charges fast. As low as $1399 new, probably cheaper used.

        I'm not saying you should buy it, just saying high-performance high-battery laptops are not rare anymore, although admittedly the CX2618 is on the heavy side for a Tablet.
      • Try getting a laptop with Intel Ultra Low Voltage processor. You can easily get 5-6+ hours of battery life.
      • For example, Sony VAIO TX Series. If you can afford them, check them out:

        * Intel® Centrino(TM) Mobile Technology.
        * Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
        * Ultra-light 2.76 pounds
        * Up to 7.5 hours of battery life
      • Just curious, which auction is yours?

        I recently got a **new** LiION battery for my laptop. Total cost was about $50. (I found the /proc/acpi/battery stuff in Linux even confirmed that it was a new battery)

        Also you can get a 12V car adapter and an external 12V battery pack really cheap ~$100. [External LiION batteries for laptops are much more expensive and less flexible].

        If you can run your CPU at half/lower speed and turn down the LCD brightness, it helps a lot.

        My laptop draws ~4amps at full load/speed wit
        • Just pick up a 35 watt inverter at Best Buy for $20 and jack it into your cigarette lighter, I mean, auxiliary power outlet. In addition to running/charging the laptop, you can use it to run your electric razor on days when you're running late for work and need to shave in the car.
    • I'd like a combination laptop-chainsaw!
    • If it leaks and destroys your laptop is it covered by a warranty that replaces your laptop?


      If the existing batteries in your laptop leak and destroy your laptop, are they covered by a warranty that replaces your laptop?

    • I read somewhere that a guy living in a tent had a laptop powered by a car battery, recharged with solar panels stolen from some sort of highway sign. To make this story interesting, he has wireless broadband. Eventually got caught, apparently some highway worker spotted the solar panels and recognized them (Again, I have added this to make this story interestingly believeable).
      With day-long Fuel Cells, the car battery won't be necessary, but how would this guy charge up those things sitting in his tent in
    • Most laptop owners don't sit in a proverbial flower field and run their laptops.
      But lots of people do sit on planes or trains for 8 or more hours. I don't know about US domestic flights but on international, I have only occasionally been able to connect my laptop power so far ... and the second time it would constantly overload and cut out.
  • ...to run my copy of Duke Nukem Forever. By my estimate, we've been hearing about the imminent arrival of each for about the same length of time...

  • You realize... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Burning1 (204959) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:56PM (#14899180) Homepage
    Laptop fuel cartrages mean new DRM and propriatary designs as well as messy (and dangerous) 3rd party refil kits.

    Consumers aren't the only ones looking forward to this.
    • Re:You realize... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LiquidCoooled (634315)
      Its the Gilette principle brought to computers.

      Never before has anyone had to purchase daily consumables for their computer.

      My bet, once these take off, they will be sold in the stores at the cig counters alongside the lighter fuel.
      • hmm. i'm waiting for "Monster Cable" brand methanol. lasts 2 hours more than the generic methanol! there's gonna be some interesting marketing.
      • It's possible it could be like lighter fluid, but if ink has taught us anything it's that people are always looking for new ways to make money on inexpensive hardware.
    • Re:You realize... (Score:5, Informative)

      by pla (258480) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:55PM (#14899374) Journal
      Laptop fuel cartrages mean new DRM and propriatary designs as well as messy (and dangerous) 3rd party refil kits.

      A lot of people keep saying this, but it just doesn't hold true!

      First of all, methanol doesn't pose nearly the health risk most people believe. As someone with a solid non-practitioner background in both chemistry and pharmacology, I would play with methanol over toner or ink any day... Additionally, the breakdown products the the electrolyte in Li-ion batteries makes methanol exposure look like a cool drink of mountain water by comparison (for an idea, the most common counts as a chemical WMD in a different context).

      Second, methanol doesn't pose nearly the fire/explosion risk most people believe. The Li-ion batteries we use now pose a FAR greater risk of explosion, and as for fire, if you take the same precautions you would when refueling your car (with yet another far more flamable/explosive liquid), you have nothing to worry about.

      Third, refilling... Aside from the previously-mentioned toxicity of ink and toner, methanol evaporates cleanly. So if you spill a few drops, you can just let them evaporate rather than permanantly staining yourself, your table, your laptop, your carpet, your dog, and seemingly anything else even in sight of the ink refill kit.


      The biggest complaint about the idea of using fuel cells over a rechargeable battery in laptops comes from the UPS-factor. Even an all-but-dead laptop battery will let it stay up (assuming you have it on AC) through a short power outage, or to move to another outlet, or to quickly reinsert the plug your cat pulled out, etc. Running on a fuel cell, all those advantages disappear unless you use the fuel cell as your primary power source, which could get expensive over time (despite methanol's low cost, AC power costs a hell of a lot less).
      • I'm not saying that fuel cels are dangerous. I'm one of those guys who wouldn't mind nuclear powered cars. I'm saying that I don't like dealing with ink refil kits, and I don't think fuel cell refil kits would be any more fun.
      • Re:You realize... (Score:3, Informative)

        by loraksus (171574)
        Thanks for posting this. As someone whose [censored by NDA clause of settlement] PDA burst into flames while it was in my shirt pocket and scared the shit out of me, it surprises me that so many people are oblivious to the fact that LiIon cells can erupt in flames. Then again, I guess it doesn't happen that much anymore, although I learned that it used to be a serious problem.

        Like you said, toner isn't exactly the most friendly substance either, when I was younger a couple of friends and I got a couple bott
        • LiIon explosions can still happen, but usually the culprit is shoddy made knock-off batteries. Good batteries will contain overload prevention circuitry that will detect and prevent shorts.

          Cheaply built batteries will either not have this at all, or will be made so poorly that they become damaged in ordinary use.

          I've found most of these cheap batteries also have nowhere near the life that a good "authentic" version has, even if it has the supposedly same MaH rating on its label (like they wouldnt fake that
          • Yeah, but in my case, it was the original battery in a 3 week old PDA ;) Fun fun!
          • Re:You realize... (Score:3, Informative)

            by pla (258480)
            LiIon explosions can still happen, but usually the culprit is shoddy made knock-off batteries

            The "culprit" involves nothing more and nothing less than an autocatalyzing eletrolyte decomposition product. "Name brand" has nothing at all to do with that.

            Now, some higher-quality batteries may use what amounts to a catalyst posion (the choice of anode material, for example, plays a HUGE role in decomposition rate). But don't assume the original manufacturer uses anything even remotely resembling high quali
    • DRM? I know what you mean (ie purposeful incompatibilities between brands protected by patents and the like), but you don't really mean Digital Rights Management...
      • No, I really mean DRM. Some modern ink cartrages have DRM protected electronics that report information to the printer. The electronics are required for the printer to use the cartrage, and breaking the DRM is required to produce 3rd party cartrages.
  • by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel.hedblom@g m a i l .com> on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:59PM (#14899188) Homepage Journal
    Today most laptops are just dragged between electric outlets since they wont go for more than a couple of hours without recharging. Having nine hours worth of computer time changes the way you can use a laptop in a pretty significant way. From being used as a portable desktop you can use it as a really portable computer, taking it whereever you go without running amok for a piglets nose.

    For me this is something i have longed for since the dawn of laptops.
    • There's actually already a solution to this problem. It's called "extra batteries". They cost money and have weight, but they do work.
      • They also have the advantage of being able to go just about anywhere and have access to a power outlet to recharge them. You can recharge them in hotel rooms, convention centers, office cubicals, etc. The same can't be said about methanol. I can honestly tell you right now that if you had to buy an ounce of methanol, I couldn't tell you where to go to find it.
        • I can honestly tell you right now that if you had to buy an ounce of methanol, I couldn't tell you where to go to find it.

          Hobby shops or chemical distributors.

          Now, if they can make the fuel cell run on methanol, ethanol, or a mix of the two, then your options are wide open. Just buy a gallon of denatured alcohol at the hardware store and you're good for a week or two of untethered operation...

        • I can honestly tell you right now that if you had to buy an ounce of methanol, I couldn't tell you where to go to find it.

          I don't know where you are, but around here I can get meth on just about every street corner.
    • by jolyonr (560227) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @04:24PM (#14899468) Homepage
      I was thinking before that I'd really love to be able to have a laptop with 9 hours of battery life - something I could use in the departure lounge waiting for my transatlantic flight (someone else always gets the seats near the power sockets before me) and then use on a 7hr flight without worrying about battery life.

      That's why I got the IBM X41 - I have a 7 cell extra-life battery plugged into the back, and a second slim battery that plugs onto the base of the laptop. The two together give me between 7 and 10 hours of battery life, depending on what I'm doing (usually programming, so I'm not a 'power' user).

      Buying the IBM was one of the best decisions I've ever made (no connection to the company, or to Levono who now own their PC business). After my recent flight from London Heathrow to Toronto I had 1.5hrs of battery life left on the machine when I shut it down as we were preparing to land.
       
      So... this wasn't that expensive - the laptop and all batteries were less than 1000GBP including tax... is there really a genuine need for fuel cells?
       
      Jolyon
    • Today most laptops are just dragged between electric outlets since they wont go for more than a couple of hours without recharging

      Agreed. Laptops are mostly used as portable laptops from my experience as well. This however is not affecting productivity as far as I've seen. At work we typically roam from room to room with our AC-adapters for meetings, presentations or getting some work done in the labs. Coupled with this we also roam to different client locations which all have power outlets for our adapters
  • More useful (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Epsillon (608775) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @02:59PM (#14899191) Homepage Journal
    IMHO, more useful than a Li-Ion replacement fuel-cell would be a fuel-cell powered universal PSU. Should be:

    * No bigger than a mains PSU brick
    * Easily replenishable whilst running
    * Inexpensive
    * Under ten dollars shipping on eBay

    OK, that last was a wise crack, but let's sort out the machines that are out there first. After all, what's the point of having your Lappy 486's 41 pounds of allegedly portable dominance running for nine hours if you can't watch a DVD on the 'plane? (RTFA: Media bay, not battery slot)
  • by donutz (195717) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:00PM (#14899199) Homepage Journal
    There's a several-months-old PC World article that says that fuel cells for mobile phones will be arriving (in Japan) in 2007 [pcworld.com].
  • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:04PM (#14899221) Homepage Journal
    FTFA:

    "There used to be restrictions on passengers to take methanol on flights," said Ms Tsai.

    But, she explained, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recently changed its guidelines to allow passengers to take methanol cartridges with them when they travel.


    From the MSDS for Methanol [bu.edu]:

    Warning! Flammable liquid. May cause skin irritation. May cause central nervous system depression. May be absorbed through the skin. May cause kidney damage. May cause respiratory and digestive tract irritation. May be fatal or cause blindness if swallowed. May cause fetal effects. Causes severe eye irritation and possible injury. Target Organs: Kidneys, central nervous system, eyes.

    It's a neurotoxin! It casues blindness! And it's highly flammable!

    Sounds like a terrorist's dream.
    • by Dunbal (464142) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:13PM (#14899251)
      It's a neurotoxin! It casues blindness! And it's highly flammable!

      Sounds like a terrorist's dream.


            These toxic effects take far to much time for it to be effective as a weapon. Plus you would need an incredible amount of it if you planned to kill people with an methanol aerosol. In fact ethanol (another neurotoxin you may be more familiar with) might be more effective for this. If you offer it free in a glass to most people, they will actually drink it!
      • These toxic effects take far to much time for it to be effective as a weapon.

        No kidding. By the time they started to try and spray methanol everywhere, I know I would give serious thought to using a low tech "beat the living bejesus out of them" with my old school li-ion battery pack.
    • by fermion (181285) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:23PM (#14899278) Homepage Journal
      Other terrorist plots
      • All agent fart on the plane at once
      • Hit passengers over head with NiMH batteries.
      • Bring the new Apple boom box on the plane and force everyone to jump to thier death by playing Celine Dion and Cher.
      • Force passenders to watch a Adam Sandler Marathon on the flight from New Yok to Bejing.
    • by pilkul (667659) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @04:22PM (#14899463)
      That's nothing. The highly dangerous chemical Dihydrogen Monoxide has been allowed on aircraft for years, and calls for banning it have been summarily ignored. According to this essay at DHMO.org [dhmo.org], it is known to frequently cause severe burns, and inhaling it is often lethal. Its MSDS [dhmo.org] states it forms dangerous explosive gases if you only mix it with calcium carbide.

      Now that's a terrorist's dream. Methanol is the least of our problems.

    • Re:Sounds Dangerous (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fm6 (162816)

      It's a neurotoxin! It casues blindness! And it's highly flammable!

      Sounds like a terrorist's dream.

      Sounds like whiskey. Well, that's an exageration. But the key fact here is that methanol (methyl alcohol) and ethanol (ethyl alcohol, or just alcohol to most people) are both alcohols, and thus share characteristics, such as flamability and toxicity. The main difference is that methanol is not considered safe for beverage use in any quantity (though some people drink it anyway), whereas ethanol is conside

    • Well, here's safety information for common table salt:

      http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/S3338.htm [jtbaker.com]
      Inhalation:
      May cause mild irritation to the respiratory tract.
      Ingestion:
      Very large doses can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and prostration. Dehydration and congestion occur in most internal organs. Hypertonic salt solutions can produce violent inflammatory reactions in the gastrointestinal tract.
      Skin Contact:
      May irritate damaged skin; absorption can occur with effects similar to those via ingestion.
      Eye Contact
  • SmartFuelCell (Score:5, Informative)

    by danimrich (584138) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @03:10PM (#14899243) Homepage Journal
    There is a German company (http://www.smartfuelcell.de/ [smartfuelcell.de] that is already producing fuel-cell powered generators for camping. I guess it won't take too long until they are small enough to fit in a laptop bag.
  • This week, it's 9. Which is it?

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/0 3/03/0134241

  • So if they can make fuel cells for ficken *laptops* why can't they do the same thing for cars??
    • Cost + fuel medium (Score:4, Informative)

      by DarkMan (32280) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @04:22PM (#14899465) Journal
      The reason fuel cells are much hyped, and preferred over batteries is that they use liquids to produce the electricity. This means that the size of the reaction interface is decoupled from the energy storage medium (whereas in a battery, they are intimately linked [normally]).

      So, the size of the reaction interface determines the power that you can get out of the fuel cell, and the size of the energy reservoir determines how long it will last.

      A laptop draws, what, 100 watts peak? A car with an 80 hp engine is at 60 kW - 600 times more. A fuel cell big enough to power that would be prohibitive in cost. Not to mention, the fuel cell will degrade with time - impurities in the fuel, and (if it's a polymer cell), degradation in the polymer itself.

      Next point is the fuel medium. The energy density of methanol is less than gasoline, at about 22MJ/kg vs 45MJ/kg for gasoline. So, assuming comparable fuel efficency with the internal combustion + mechanical drive vs fuel cell + motors, you'd need twice as much fuel.

      There are no good fuel cells that operate on gasoline - the more complex the hydrocarbon, the harder it is to build a fuel cell. Couple that with the way the sulpher tends to kill fuel cells, and it's not feasable (low sulpher gasoline is available - have you ever seen guarenteed no sulpher gasoline?)

      So, it would cost more, and you'd only get half the distance on a single tank of methanol. Assuming that you can get the methanol. The whole fuel distribution problem is a seperate case.

      All the numbers here are conservative - I'm sure my powerbook draws significantly less than 100W, 80 hp is at the low end for a car - I believe 100hp is more typical. The laptop fuel cells don't use pure methanol, it's methanol and water, further reducing the energy density.
    • So if they can make fuel cells for ficken *laptops* why can't they do the same thing for cars?


      They can, and do. Once the price comes down (or people become willing to pay $500,000 for a car), and the infrastructure issues get worked out, we will have them.

  • So why would I want to pay to recharge my laptop on an almost daily basis when I can simply plug it in for free with a rechargable battery instead?
  • Before it even make it out to market, I propose beer, vodka, whiskey or gin based batteries. At least when you get sick of work, you can have some fun!!!
  • Methanol On Board (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wildsurf (535389) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @04:09PM (#14899417) Homepage
    Fuel cell technology got a boost recently when international air flight regulators changed rules that banned passengers from carrying flammable methanol onto aircraft.

    So now when the guy sitting next to you's computer bombs, it means something entirely different.
  • I recall there was a post on this somewhere recently, else see this:

    http://lees.mit.edu/lees/projects/cnt_ultracap_pro ject.htm [mit.edu]

    Ultra capacitors now can hols 6Wh/kg which is only a fraction of conventional Li-Ion batteries but according to MIT this can be boosed to 1000 battery capasity by using nanotubes.

    And ultra capacitors have a large number of advantages: no dangerous components, recharge in a matter of minutes, better temperature tolerance, longer durability ...

    I don't know why people bo
    • >I don't know why people bother to talk about fuelcells...

      Because they may want long life laptop power cells in 1 or 2 years as oposed to in 10 or 20 years?
    • >And ultra capacitors have a large number of advantages: no dangerous components, recharge in a matter of minutes, better temperature tolerance, longer durability .

      how about:
      a) toxic nanoparticles (potentially carciogenic?)
      b) recharge is current-limited. A supercap that actually HAS more capacity/volume than a LiIon would melt if you try to charge it that quickly
      c) ultra-low breakthrough voltage, requires extensive step-up circuit.
      d) those 6 Wh/kg EXTREMELY warp the picture to benefit supercaps (as they
      • a) Nanotubes made of carbon are quite harmless, actually research is done on how these can be used for medical treatment for example to encapsulate vira.

        True, nano and micro particles in the air can be harmfull, but this is not the case for the nanotubes in a closed container. When the ultracapasitor is disposed it contains less harmful chemicals than a Li-Ion battery.

        b) You have a point, but this is mostly an engineering problem to make it charge correctly. Wether they would melt is a completely unfounded
  • ..."it's dinner time soon" or 'soon' as in "we expect our fusion reactor to achieve a positive return very soon".
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @04:54PM (#14899564) Journal
    The big question (for males) is obviously, would fuel cells increase or decrease the risks of burning the scrotum [msn.com] and penis [theregister.co.uk]? :-o
  • by billstewart (78916) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:24PM (#14899703) Journal
    Just about every year since the mid-90s Internet boom we hear that fuel cells will be available Real Soon Now. They're a really cool idea, you obviously want them, and I hear that they're packaging them with a free copy of Duke Nukem Forever....
  • by John Jorsett (171560) on Saturday March 11, 2006 @05:46PM (#14899820)
    How much energy can we pack into a small package before we need to start treating it like thermite? If we're putting many watt-hours into a cartridge and it malfunctions, could it, for example, end up melting its way through the cabin floor and skin (and the fuel lines) of an aircraft?
  • Is why isn't this being announced by an American company?
  • Anyway - I'm just tired of hearing this tired, recycled bull about "laptop fuel cells" - I was on board with it until the 2nd story came out around the time cells hyped in the first article were supposed to see market...

    It seems like the "this will be on the shelves by" date has getting incremented by 12 to 18 months each time the story sees daylight since the I first started seeing it in - what, 2003? 2004?

    The point about it that disrupts the "willfull suspension of disbelief" that I typically rely

  • I've actually been involved in the preliminary designs of a small very powerful wearable computer, and we looked really hard at a fuel-cell solution - from Antig, no less. The real turn-off was not risk of fire or anything (this can be handled), but the fact that for every 10W of electrical power they generate 12-15W of heat. It's already difficult to get rid of ~25W from the electronics in a lunchbox sized device to be worn on the body. Now imagine adding ~35W of heat to generate the 25W - no thanks. I hop

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