Fuel Cells/Micro Fuel Cells 040517

Fuel Cells/Micro Fuel Cells
 (June 2004) ABI (Allied Business Intelligence) projects micro fuel cell (MFC)  technology will power nearly  15% of the world’s laptop computers as early as 2012.  ABI Research projections also indicate that a trial production of 2,000 units next year will be used in PDAs and notebooks in Japan and the U.S. One of the studies significant findings is that if micro fuel cells are going to enter commercial markets in a small way in 2005, manufacturers must demonstrate their prototypes along with efficient refueling and replacing cartridges before the end of 2004.  

Will consumers adopt MFCs? Mass market acceptance may be restrained if refueling or replacing carries a high cost.  But the model has worked for the inkjet printer and ejectable razor industries such as Gillette, BIC and Tokai who are showing interest in distribution.   (Information is from ABI’s research study, “Micro Fuel Cell: Market Challenges and Opportunities for Cameras, Laptops and Wireless/Mobile Devices,” www.abiresearch.com.)
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 (April 2004) Stanford University increases fuel cell efficiency.  The task was accomplished by shrinking the channels (and adding more channels)  that deliver  the hydrogen. Based on a microchip etching process, the channels, with a dimensional width  of  20 micrometers, were bored.  The engineers, Suk Cha and Fritz Prinz, used a fuel cell  containing  a polymer based proton exchange membrane.  Hydrogen (not methanol) was and must be used in this application.  
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 (Febuary2004) Micro Fuel Cell Regulations & Compliance will be held on four different  dates on four different locations in 2004.  The next meeting is in February, 23-24 in Irvine, California, followed by a March 25-26 meeting in Washington, D.C. For information see the following website: http://www.cbinet.com/events/HS411/Index.html.
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 (Oct, 2003) Micro Fuel Cells Taget Battery Replacement In Handhelds

To replace a handheld battery, a fuel cell, with fuel must occupy 12 cm3 and deliver 300 mA at 3.6 V. Standard fuel cells require surface areas of 60 cm2 which would leave a fraction of a cm for thickness. To obtain the needed performance in a smaller size, STMicroelectonics is experimenting with buried microchannels and nanoporous layers fabricated of silicon. Funded by the National Research Porject and the Italian Government, the work is being done with ST and 5 italian companies.

Reference: Electronic Design, Oct 13, 03, p 25
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