Panasonic Engineers Introduce Methanol Fuel Cell Prototype

Oct 22, 2008 by Mary Anne Simpson weblog
Panasonic Fuel Cell Prototype
Panasonic Fuel Cell Prototype for Mobile Devices. Image: Panasonic

(PhysOrg.com) -- Engineers at Panasonic will showcase their new reduced size methanol fuel cell at the Hydrogen Energy Advanced Technology Exhibition 2008 in Fukuoka, Kyushu, Japan. Japan's most populated city will host the exhibit on October 22-24, 2008.

Panasonic has been working on reducing the size and increasing the efficiency of its previously introduced fuel cell over the past eight-years. The new methanol fuel cell is about the size of a laptop battery. The fuel cell battery weighs approximately 11.29-ounces and can deliver an average of 10-watts of power with a maximum output of 20-watts.

Panasonic Fuel Cell Prototype for Notebooks. Image: Panasonic

According to Panasonic, the new methanol fuel cell battery has the unique advantage of being able to run 20-hours utilizing 200cc methanol. When the fuel cell runs low on methanol a quick refueling takes a few minutes. Unlike lithium ion batteries, methanol fuel cells are viewed as more environmentally friendly. The only by-product is water and a slight amount of carbon dioxide.

Panasonic does not have present plans to commercially distribute the methanol fuel cell for laptops and other electronic devices. Panasonic speculates that the new methanol fuel cell may be available in the commercial market by 2012. Recognizing the ever increasing need for "high accuracy fuel technology,"

Panasonic believes the methanol fuel cell holds great promise for the commercial electronics market and will spend whatever time it takes to perfect the technology. Critics of the methanol fuel cell are concerned about the initial cost and maintenance. At this juncture in development, Panasonic has not stated what the cost will be for the methanol fuel cell. The concept of a battery with 20-hours of use and no hazardous by-products will definitely be taken into consideration when pricing it for market.

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User comments : 9

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tkjtkj
2.5 / 5 (2) Oct 22, 2008
The pic is confusing: Is the pic
of the device itself? or of
a laptop which has the fuelcell
installed? Is the blue object the
fuel cell????

if so ,the pic is mis-labeled.
DGBEACH
5 / 5 (3) Oct 22, 2008
Is that 10-20 Watts TOTAL, or 10-20 WHrs, which would be 200-400 Watts total/charge? BIG difference.
Lord_jag
1 / 5 (2) Oct 22, 2008
10 watts average for a total of 20 hours. Then refill with methanol.

Thats 200 WHrs.

Great... now we can run our electronics on fossil fuels too!
Fritz
2.5 / 5 (2) Oct 22, 2008
"The only by-product is water and a slight amount of carbon dioxide."

Of course, that excludes the by-products of making the methanol in the first place . . .
holmstar
4 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2008
The pic is confusing: Is the pic
of the device itself? or of
a laptop which has the fuelcell
installed? Is the blue object the
fuel cell????

if so ,the pic is mis-labeled.


The fuel cell "battery" is the blue object.
General_Haberdashery
2 / 5 (1) Oct 22, 2008
Great... now we can run our electronics on fossil fuels too!


What were we running them on before?
Timmu
5 / 5 (3) Oct 24, 2008
"Panasonic has been working on reducing the size and efficiency of its previously introduced fuel cell over the past eight-years."

To bad that Panasonic worked on "reducing the size and efficiency" - efficiency is the thing to increase not to reduce...

:D
Lord_jag
not rated yet Oct 27, 2008

What were we running them on before?


Nuclear and hydro-electric in many places.

Just seems funny that while everyone seems to want to go to electric or hybred cars, they start trying to make you burn fuel in your computer.
Roach
not rated yet Nov 04, 2008
10 watts average for a total of 20 hours. Then refill with methanol.

Thats 200 WHrs.

Great... now we can run our electronics on fossil fuels too!


Um, methanol is wood grain alcohol, not so much there champ. Also ignoring the renewable nature of methanol and the short cycle carbon usage, energy per C in methanol is pretty high.