We're now officially into the new millennium (well, soon at least). We have yet to see a major replacement for gasoline, or oil as the major fuel, but what about batteries?|
Batteries in laptops, within only a few years have shifted from Nickel Cadmium (NiCd), to Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMh), to Lithium Ion (LiON). This goes the same for most camcorders, mobile phones, and other battery powered accessories. Major battery manufacturers, and even electronic powerhouses are looking at new sources of power for their devices.
As new electronic devices like laptops, mobile phones, personal communicators and the like become more demanding on power, new types of batteries need to be developed offering more power, better recharging, and longer lasting. Toshiba, Fujitsu, and NEC all know this, and that's why they're investing in developing fuel cell batteries.
A fuel cell battery was once promised as the new fuel for cars. Ford, Honda, Toyota and many others released concept fuel cell powered vehicles - but these are in no way the norm. In the case of Japanese based NEC, they are working with the local Japan government to develop a fuel cell battery that runs on methanol and utilizes nanotechnology.
A fuel cell battery also doesn't need recharging, just refueling. The fuel - methanol in the case of NEC is fairly cheap at 31 cents a liter. NEC says their fuel cell battery invention will have 10 times the energy capacity of a lithium ion battery which are currently in 80% of the worlds laptops. This leads to a laptop that doesn't need to be "re fueled" for at least a day after continuous use, or a mobile phone that can run non-stop for a month or two. NEC isn't aiming for commercial use of their battery until 2005 though.
Fujitsu and Toshiba are also well at work in research and development of fuel cell batteries. At the rate of mobile electronic device proliferation, fuel cell batteries will be a welcome addition by 2005, but much more welcome sooner.
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