Feeds

NEC to show laptop with built-in fuel cell

Big leap forward with smaller power unit

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One Infographic

NEC will this week show a prototype notebook PC powered by its own fuel cell unit, the company said today.

The power supply marks a big improvement over NEC's previous fuel cell efforts, the company said, with what is effectively a 20 per cent reduction in the size of the cell for the same power output. Indeed, where the current prototype doesn't look out of place as part of the notebook's contruction, the previous version, shown over a year ago, had a rather large fuel cyclinder positioned behind the screen.

NEC Fuel Cell Notebook Evolution
NEC's fuel cell notebook prototypes from 2003 (left) to 2004 (centre, right)

Last year's system had a power output density of 50mW per cm², compared to the 70mW per cm² NEC has managed to get out of the new model. The focus of NEC's development work is equipping the fuel cell with monitoring and management systems to ensure smooth, stable power generation.

Of course, it's all a very long way from commercialisation - NEC didn't provide any timeframe against which the release of a fuel cell-powered laptop might be measured. Interestingly, NEC was not so circumspect this time last year when it promised to bring a fuel cell-equipped notebook to market by the end of 2004. Back then, it also scheduled a similar machine capable of 40 hours' continuous operation to appear by the end of 2005.

NEC isn't the only Japanese company developing fuel cells for notebooks - so too is Toshiba and Hitachi, who have also demonstrated prototype systems this year. Intel-funded start up PolyFuel is also working on direct methanol fuel cells for laptops. So is German company Smart Fuel Cells.

Toshiba has also shown off cells aimed at PDAs, MP3 players and mobile phones, as has Hitachi. ®

Related stories

Toshiba touts pump-free fuel cell for MP3 players
Sulphur fuels battery breakthrough
Fujitsu breakthrough slims fuel cell size
Hitachi readies fuel cell for PDAs
Toshiba demos cellphone fuel cell
NEC, Hitachi prep notebook fuel cells
Toshiba boffins prep laptop fuel cell

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.