Toshiba today announced that it has developed two prototypes of direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) units for mobile audio players. One features an output power of 100mW for flash memory-based digital audio players and the other offers 300mW for hard disk drive (HDD)-based digital audio players.
The 100mW unit, 23x75x10mm in size, can power flash-based players for approximately 35 hours on a single 3.5ml charge of concentrated methanol, claims Toshiba. The 300mW unit is 60x75x10mm in size and delivers sufficient power to keep an HDD-based audio player running for approximately 60 hours on a single 10ml charge, said the company.
Toshiba’s DMFC features a passive fuel supply system that is suited to smaller fuel cells and use with a concentrated methanol solution. Fuel cells usually mix methanol with water in a concentration of less than 30%, a dilution that supports generating efficiency but requires a fuel tank that is too big for portable equipment. Through durability and reliability tests with the new units, Toshiba will accelerate technology enhancements to support integration of DMFC into commercial products, which are expected to hit the market after 2007.