UltraCell Corporation Announces Portable Methanol Fuel Cell System

Aug 24, 2005

UltraCell Corporation announces a new fuel cell power source for portable electronic devices that has twice the energy density of lithium batteries. UltraCell's reformed methanol fuel cell (RMFC) technology uses a revolutionary micro reformer to generate fuel-cell-ready hydrogen from a highly concentrated methanol solution. This new portable power system has the power density of a hydrogen fuel cell but uses readily available, low cost methanol fuel in a convenient, compact package. Weighing just 40 ounces, the power unit is about the size of a paperback novel.

This new technology has already been developed by UltraCell as a prototype for the military. This original system, the XX90, was designed for up to 45 watts of continuous power. Subsequently, the U.S. Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) awarded UltraCell a contract to accelerate its development of a more compact portable system to run at 25 watts. This new power source is being developed for commercial use as the UltraCell25(TM) and will be available in 2006 for professional, industrial and mobile computing applications. Its name for the military will be the XX25.

UltraCell's micro reformer technology is designed to work in a user-friendly package that, with the push of a power button, self starts and feeds power as needed. The system's spent fuel canisters can be instantly "hot swapped," as needed, to provide continuous power in any remote situation. Whether for a soldier on mission or for the on-the-go laptop user, mobile executive, emergency first responder, researcher in a remote location, industrial video maker, or remote electronic monitoring, this means a nonstop supply of power anywhere, anytime. For greater flexibility, the system can even support batteries by serving as a portable recharging power supply.

The complete UltraCell system includes fuel processor, fuel cell stack, control system, balance of plant and easily replaceable fuel cartridge. Based on proprietary control algorithms, the control system manages a steady flow of power by adjusting pump and compressor settings. The revolutionary micro fuel cell generates no excess water, and consequently does not need a water management system, saving size, weight and cost versus alternative micro fuel cell systems. In addition, the UltraCell system uses a high temperature membrane assembly (MEA) from Pemeas in its fuel cell stack, resulting in high tolerance to CO and impurities.

"The major advantages of our system are the result of key advances by UltraCell and partners, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, Pemeas and others, yielding a breakthrough in fuel reformer technology," said Jim Kaschmitter, CEO of UltraCell. "UltraCell's novel fuel reformer converts methanol fuel to hydrogen efficiently and in a very compact package. Our technical team solved several key engineering challenges in thermal design and packaging to achieve this breakthrough. Our system provides a significant performance advantage over competing fuel cell and battery solutions for portable power users."


Explore further: Researchers discover low-grade nonwoven cotton picks up 50 times own weight of oil

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fuel cells for powering homes

Jul 16, 2014

One of the applications that fuel cells may have is the supplying of homes with electrical power. When considering applications of this type that call for greater power, a research group in the UPV/EHU's Department of Mineralogy ...

Recommended for you

Taking great ideas from the lab to the fab

10 hours ago

A "valley of death" is well-known to entrepreneurs—the lull between government funding for research and industry support for prototypes and products. To confront this problem, in 2013 the National Science ...

SR Labs research to expose BadUSB next week in Vegas

10 hours ago

A Berlin-based security research and consulting company will reveal how USB devices can do damage that can conduct two-way malice, from computer to USB or from USB to computer, and can survive traditional ...

US warns retailers on data-stealing malware

12 hours ago

US government cybersecurity watchdogs warned retailers Thursday about malware being circulated that allows hackers to get into computer networks and steal customer data.

User comments : 0