Fuel cells are the future. From the cars on the road to the laptops dangling from our shoulders to the mobile phones in our pockets, fuel cells are destined to revolutionize the way we power our electrical devices. So, with a bevy of manufacturers researching methanol fuel cells, Sony has debuted new hybrid fuel cell system that ups the longevity of current fuel cell systems.
By combining a methanol-based fuel cell and a Lithium-polymer batter the new hybrid fuel cell is capable of playing 14 hours of 1Seg video broadcast on just 10mL of methanol. The technology was shown off at the Smart Fuel Cells 2008 conference and proves that a hybrid fuel cell design can help increase a device’s uptime.
Unlike traditional fuel cells that need to be topped off immediately when they run dry (much like combustion-based vehicles today), the Sony hybrid fuel cell uses the electricity produced by the methanol fuel cell to charge the Lithium-polymer battery – this setup allows the device to run on the Lithium battery after the fuel cell’s methanol supply has been used up.
Sony’s Material Laboratory says that the hybrid fuel cell unit is rated at 3W of instantaneous power, and is currently working to commercialize the 1.2-inch by 2.0-inch power pack.
We can’t wait until fuel cells, in any form, hit the commercial market. Sony’s hybrid idea seems like the way to go with future fuel cell applications.