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Panasonic to demo 20-hour laptop-friendly fuel cell

Laptop battery and stand-alone charger developed

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Panasonic will show off its latest developments in Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC) this week. The highlight is a power pack capable of delivering a charge continuously for 20 hours.

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Panasonic's DMFC: can power laptops for up to 20 hours

The fuel cell achieves this on just 200cc of methanol, Panasonic said. The battery has a 270cc volume and the ability to provide between 10W and 20W of power. It weighs about 320g, but that's excluding fuel - Panasonic didn't say what filling the tank does for the unit's weight.

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A DMFC standalone gadget charger

Panasonic has also developed a standalone DMFC charger which has two USB ports and can be used to charge up all manner of gadgets, including mobile phones and MP3 players. The 360cc DMFC weighs about 350g, again excluding fuel.

Panasonic will display both DMFC gadgets at the Hydrogen Energy Advanced Technology Exhibition 2008 in Fukuoka, Japan on Wednesday. But the firm doesn’t plan to launch any such devices commercially until the end of 2012.

Rival Toshiba has been much more bullish about its plans for fuel cell power and recently hinted to Register Hardware that it may launch fuel cell-based products on a commercial scale within the next few months. Problems such as government regulation and fuel distribution methods are still causing Toshiba some headaches, though, the firm admitted.

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