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Direct Methanol Fuel Cells With Aerosol Feed

To overcome the problems of methanol crossover in liquid fed PEM fuel cells and to increase the concentration of fuel at the anode, it has been proposed to atomize a solution of methanol and water into a droplet stream of between 0.1 and 10 microns. The resulting system would be smaller and less massive than a liquid fed system.

NASA Tech Briefs
January 2002, pp. 48-49

Methanol fuel cells may become prime time power for portable electronics.
- Toshiba Corporation has demonstrated a personal digital assistant (PDA) which runs on a direct methanol fuel cell. The fuel cell has an average power output of 3-5 Watts. Toshiba hopes to make the fuel cell available to the public in two years.
- Smart Fuel Cell (SFC) GmbH has begun production of a miniaturized methanol fuel cell that holds about 125 ml of methanol and can power a notebook computer for more than eight hours. SFC expects the cost between $3 and $5 per piece.
- Neah Power Systems has received more than $5 million from Frazier Technology Ventures and Alta Partners in its second round of funding. The company said it is working to develop a battery-sized direct methanol fuel cell in hopes of replacing Lithium-ion batteries in portable electronic devices. The company plans to begin marketing its first fuel cell products by 2004.
-Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Corporation (DMFCC) has been formed to commercialize the direct methanol fuel cell technology developed at the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the University of Southern California (USC). DMFCC, Caltech and USC have signed a letter of intent for DMFCC to acquire rights to 22 issued and over 40 pending U.S. and foreign patents. These include the original and fundamental patent for using methanol dissolved in water as the fuel.
-Casio said it would begin selling fuel cell batteries powered by methanol in 2004. The fuel cells are said to be able to power a laptop personal computer for as long as 20 hours; currently, a typical Lithium-ion batterys life is about four or five hours. Casios aim is to make the new fuel cells cheaper than Lithium-ion batteries through mass production.

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