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Sharp claims record mobile fuel cell power density

Shrink it a bit, and it'll replace laptop batteries

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Sharp has claimed the crown for the highest power density mobile fuel cell. It delivers enough power per cubic centimetre, it's said, to one day replace standard lithium-ion packs. This time it really will...

Sharp's Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) has a power density of 0.3W per cubic centimetre. That's almost seven times greater than the company's previous prototype mobile-oriented fuel cell, it said.

More research is needed before the fuel cell can be commercialised, Sharp admitted, but it will now look at how the technology can be integrated into PDAs and laptops. Right now, the cell is still a little larger than a regular lithium-ion battery, but Sharp said it believes it can squeeze the cell down to battery size by refining its structure.

Sharp's DMFC comprises layers of "reed-shaped" thin cells, each layer sandwiched between layers of similarly reed-shaped spacers.

"With this structure, uniform and continuous spaces are secured, making it possible to increase the cell surface area per unit volume and smoothly circulate the air that is one of the sources for power generation," Sharp said, and who are we to argue?

Whatever, this "three-dimensional structure" allows methanol to mix with water and oxgen, generate ions and electrons, the combine other ions and electrons at another electrode, creating power, water and carbon-dioxide.

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