Methanol fuel cells for gadgets gain steam

Direct Methanol Fuel Cell has licensed a patent from CalTech to build methanol-based gadget chargers, a week after Toshiba took the wraps off its own portable fuel cell.

The patent will allow Direct Methanol Fuel Cell to design smaller portable charging packages for devices, such as mobile phones, said Viaspace, the parent company of Direct Methanol Fuel Cell. The company said Monday it has a partnership with Samsung and others to commercialize methanol fuel cartridges.

A direct methanol fuel cell converts the liquid fuel methanol into electricity through a chemical reaction between oxygen and methanol. It's a technology that … Read more

PolyFuel to demo methanol fuel cell laptop

Powering a laptop with a portable liquid fuel is getting closer to reality. But don't expect to buy one for your next birthday.

PolyFuel, a company that develops fuel cell membranes, said Wednesday it has developed a prototype laptop--a Lenovo T40 ThinkPad--that uses methanol cartridges and a fuel cell as a power source.

The company intends to show it off to consumer electronics and PC manufacturers in the coming weeks. PolyFuel, which was spun out of what is now called SRI International, has about 19 customers, including NEC and Sanyo.

The functioning prototype is a proof of concept, rather … Read more

MTI Micro partners for fuel cell ultra-mobile PC

MTI Micro and Korean manufacturer NeoSolar said on Thursday they will build prototype ultra-mobile PCs powered by fuel cells.

The two companies said they will develop digital devices that use MTI Micro's Mobion fuel cells, which use liquid methanol cartridges as a fuel.

The development could lead to external chargers, snap-on attachments or devices with the Mobion fuel cell embedded in them, the companies said.

Fuel cells are being developed for a wide range of applications, from back-up electricity in buildings and data centers to transportation.

Rather drawing on tanks of hydrogen to make electricity in a fuel cell, … Read more

The best fuel cell company you've never seen

I had a chat with Dr. Peter Podessor this week. He is the CEO of Smart Fuel Cells (XETRA: F3C.DE), the best fuel cell company that most Americans have never heard of. Cleantech Blog did an article on the problems with micro fuel cells last year, but we have never written much on the larger size methanol fuel cells that Smart Fuel Cell is developing. SFC is one of the longest running direct methanol fuel cell companies in Europe, but never has made much press in the US, despite the fact that the US is one of their largest … Read more