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Sony To Unveil New Fuel-Cell Prototype

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the new-power dept.

Power 116

Nakeot writes "On Friday, Sony plans to unveil their newest portable fuel-cell technology, aimed at a variety of mobile applications. From the article: "The system contains both a methanol fuel cell and a Li-on battery" and can "intelligently switch between power from the battery, fuel, or even both under high-draw circumstances." Sony intends to show off two models claimed to power your cell for a week or a month, respectively, as well as the latest developments with their sugar-batteries that can now run purely off your favorite cola beverage. This model builds on Sony's 2008 model, their first commercially-demonstratable prototype, and could make waves with Sony's OLED devices, but will Sony be able to avoid another battery recall?"

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116 comments

FP (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26990795)

Frist prost?

Power my cell for a week (5, Funny)

Aldur42 (1042038) | more than 5 years ago | (#26990839)

My cell already lasts a week, but I think that's because no one calls

Re:Power my cell for a week (2, Funny)

Jangchub (1139089) | more than 5 years ago | (#26990921)

Mine lasts at least a week; I too lack any human friends... Want to get together over beers?

Re:Power my cell for a week (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26991181)

Wowie, yours too! Let's get together over beers and then shove greased-up yoda dolls up our asses while watching 300!

Re:Power my cell for a week (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26991763)

Wowie, yours too! Let's get together over beers and then shove greased-up yoda dolls up our asses while watching 300!

Didn't we just do that last week?

Re:Power my cell for a week (2)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992627)

with their sugar-batteries that can now run purely off your favorite cola beverage

And you should be able to spill that beer on your cellphone, and it will run even longer!

Although maybe a rum and coke has more sugar in it than beer......

Darwin's Award (1)

mrops (927562) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997455)

Exploding Li-Ion batteries so close to my genitals is risky enough, add methanol to it and you get a contender for Darwin's award.

Re:Power my cell for a week (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998297)

Mine lasts a week as well, but I go through at least 300 minutes every two weeks, especially when the girls are around.

I don't go through nearly as much cell time as toilet paper when they're around, though. My cell battery is far longer lasting than the TP.

Re:Power my cell for a week (1)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 5 years ago | (#26995109)

My phone ALREADY lasts way longer than a week. Does that mean this battery is no better than existing ones? Or that someone has messed up the summary? I don't get what the advantage is of a battery that can only power a phone for a week.

thats great but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26990857)

will it asplode?

These are still vapor (3, Insightful)

sirwired (27582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26990899)

We have been hearing about fuel cells "just around the corner" for a freakin' decade now. I think you can put them in the same corner as Duke Nukem Forever and that Holographic Storage thing that keeps popping up on Slashdot.

SirWired

Re:These are still vapor (3, Informative)

Eziril (657544) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991415)

There are many corners to pass for a technology to become mainstream. Fuel Cells have already passed several of these. They've gone from an idea on a blackboard, to a gadget in a lab, and now multiple large companies have put out prototype devices. The Honda fcx clarity car being and portable batteries being just two. Fuel cell buses are already prowling the streets of several cities. Probably the biggest advances yet to come are cost, large scale production, and wide scale distribution of fuel for the fuel cells. The fact is fuel cells are here now and already working hard, they just need more improvements to be mainstream.

Re:These are still vapor (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992271)

Agree with parent. Take OLEDs for example. They still have a lot of issues to overcome, but they're slowly finding their way into the industry, namely on PMPs, some cell phones, other examples.

Re:These are still vapor (2, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994437)

The problem is a lot of things fall at one of the hurdles to becoming ubiquitous.

E.g. Field Emissions Displays looked promising a few years back and I thought they'd end up being used in pretty much all TVs. Oddly enough LCDs which back then were crap and expensive have ended up being good and cheap and have replaced CRTs almost completely.

I thought the same thing would happen with Plasma v LCD, but it seems to have peaked. It's still quite possible OLEDs will stay in the niche market of small screens for PMPs and never manage to compete with LCDs. Like ePaper

Similarly with batteries if you read the technical media from a few years back there were loads of promising technologies that never made it.

Basically it seems like in each area dozens of technologies get to the demo stage, less make it to the niche product stage (e.g. ePaper ebook readers or OLED screens on PMPs) and maybe one or two become ubiquitous until they are dethroned (CRTs and then LCD/Plasma)

Re:These are still vapor (1)

chaoticgeek (874438) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992585)

If you turn enough corners you will eventually be facing the same way you started in the first place...

Re:These are still vapor (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26993827)

Concerning wide scale distribution of fuel for the fuel cells...

What I really want to see is a unit that can be used as a big battery for solar installations. Let me produce hydrogen all day in the sun and then run the other way around at night.

Re:These are still vapor (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26996763)

IIRC, that's done pretty well with compressed air in sealed caves, in pumping water uphill to be used for hydroelectric at night, or using flywheels.

Large fixed-installation power storage is very doable right now, but good portable power is still desperately needed.

Re:These are still vapor (1)

mattr (78516) | more than 5 years ago | (#26995515)

Hi,
You are right, and the Clarity is really oool.
I saw presentations by the FC divisions of Honda, Nissan and Toyota today at the FC Expo. 2015 is the date they are aiming at to realize a serious Hydrogen market (though this will be a bit tough). Some important issues are starting in subzero weather (the water freezes... but they have gotten pretty far on this), anode deterioration when frequent start/stop develops an eletrolytiC gradient, and other things. They want to bring the expense down by 90% too. These guys are heroes and as you say already being used in buses and autos - there are 70 hydrogen stations in the U.S. so they are being used in southern California. I saw a photo of a solar powered hydrogen station. It is definitely not vaporware anymore, more like alpha-beta stage.

Re:These are still vapor (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26996787)

Fuel cell buses are already prowling the streets of several cities.

Buses, prowling. Interesting juxtaposition. I imagine an animated bus like a giant Herbie sneaking along the street, trying in vain to hide behind street signs.

Re:These are still vapor (1, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991465)

and that Holographic Storage thing that keeps popping up on Slashdot.

Yeah but it looks so real... like I can just reach out and touch the drive.

I also like the psychedelic colors.

Seems promising to me!

Re:These are still vapor (1)

criminy (62218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991865)

I think you can put them in the same corner as Duke Nukem Forever and that Holographic Storage thing that keeps popping up on Slashdot.

Likewise:

Flying Cars
3D TV
Fusion Power

Re:These are still vapor (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 5 years ago | (#26995845)

3D TV is here already.

I had replied to another post some days ago and was criticised about it not being "ready" for cinema viewing (people looking from multiple angles), but I was referring to personal viewing at home.
no glasses, no fuss, it just works...

flying cars are also already here (and am not talking about the one with the parachute-thing on it...), but they are simply too difficult to "drive", when your average joe-six-speeds can barely pass a test for 2D roads :-)

not qualified to speak about fusion power (why do you use capital letters anyway?) but I believe that quite some progress is being done - watched a short documentary the other day showing a reactor to create a stable kernel of plasma, somewhere in southern Asia, in collaboration with other countries...

Re:These are still vapor (4, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991871)

I think you can put them in the same corner as Duke Nukem Forever

NOTHING can be in the same corner as Duke Nukem Forever. In Vegas the odds would be better of Elvis riding towards Caesars Palace on a Unicorn, on a rainbow, with a horde of screaming Leprechauns chasing after him pissed because he stole the pot of gold. Ohhh, and Elvis would have TITS. Big Ones.

Re:These are still vapor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992083)

Didn't that part already come true?

Ohhh, and Elvis would have TITS. Big Ones.

Re:These are still vapor (1)

PiSkyHi (1049584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994477)

Odds reduced slightly since Elvis did have tits for a while there.

Re:These are still vapor (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994747)

Fine. I meant big huge boobies like Dolly Parton or Jessica Love Hewitt. Not man-titties. Something with cleavage.

I have yet to see a man with man-titties so big he could make cleavage, and I fervently hope I never do.

Re:These are still vapor (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26996585)

"Hail to the king, baby!"

Re:These are still vapor (2, Insightful)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26996827)

with a horde of screaming Leprechauns chasing after him pissed because he stole the pot of gold.

He ate all their bacon and peanut butter and banana sandwiches, too.

Re:These are still vapor (1)

wrook (134116) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997039)

Damn it! You've given away the whole plot of the game!

Now they're going to have to start all over again. I hope you're happy!

Re:These are still vapor (1)

soren202 (1477905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992343)

We have been hearing about fuel cells "just around the corner" for a freakin' decade now. I think you can put them in the same corner as Duke Nukem Forever and that Holographic Storage thing that keeps popping up on Slashdot.

SirWired

Nah. At least there's a trailer for Duke Nukem Forever.

At this point, I'm putting more faith in that game than fuel cells.

Re:These are still vapor (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992369)

The major difference between DNF & fuel cells is that the cells exist and are being used, even if in prototype form:

I saw the green bike pictured here [alternativ...-news.info] at an electric bike event in Wales last year but more people were interested in the normal battery bikes because they could buy one there and then if they wanted (and some did).

I would love an electric bike that could do up to 100km on a single charge/refill but the (un)availability & price right doen't make it feasable. Hopefully when I've run my current electric bike into the ground I'll be able to get a full-cell powered bike. So far I've had my ebike 2 years, ridden daily & it's still going strong after the usual bike parts needed servicing/replacing, controller/motor are still going strong but I've pretty much given the year old lithium battery a hammering & it'll need to be replaced before the year is out.

Re:These are still vapor (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 5 years ago | (#26995555)

...i have these things called legs, and i use them to push these things called pedals... but in all seriousness, thighs of steel.

Re:These are still vapor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26996385)

Just means an emissions recall next time.

Strange... (1)

Drumforyourlife (1421647) | more than 5 years ago | (#26990901)

I was expecting something like this to be bulky, but the article's picture shows that the batteries are fairly small. This could be really good for people who travel. I charge my phone while I'm sleeping, but I always have to take the charger along for long trips, and then find a plug.

The LIE is on (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26990913)

The Li-on is on , one might say.
Honestly can this company go away and not exist , its done so much great stuff like rootkits.....

Big Bang Theory (3, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991001)

"Sony intends to show off two models claimed to power your cell for a week or a month"

... or until it explodes in a ball of fire, like their previous batteries.

Re:Big Bang Theory (0, Flamebait)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991611)

And, depending on the container used for the methanol and the amount of vapor contained within it, it may be subject to export regulations as munitions!

Sony-powered cellphones will become a must-have component for every terrorist-built IED!

Re:Big Bang Theory (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991927)

And, depending on the container used for the methanol and the amount of vapor contained within it, it may be subject to export regulations as munitions!

That's not funny. Do you really think we could even get these things onto planes?

Re:Big Bang Theory (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26995049)

The system contains both a methanol fuel cell and a Li-on battery. [...] Sony intends to show off two models claimed to power your cell for a week or a month

... or until it explodes in a ball of fire, like their previous batteries.

So that's why it includes a conventional Li-Ion battery inside as well.

The downside... (2, Funny)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991091)

The only downside is that since it's from Sony, it installs a rootkit on your cellphone that keeps you from copying pictures you take on it to your computer...

(Yes, I'm still holding that grudge. Such is the PR price a company pays for being so mind-numbingly stupid.)

Re:The downside... (2, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991891)

The only downside is that since it's from Sony, it installs a rootkit on your cellphone that keeps you from copying pictures you take on it to your computer...

I believe that Verizon Wireless already has prior art [engadget.com] on that one ;)

Re:The downside... (4, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992057)

(Yes, I'm still holding that grudge. Such is the PR price a company pays for being so mind-numbingly stupid.)

Your not the only one holding that grudge. Just like you I bring it up every single time I can. I'll release my grudge when some Sony executives go to prison.

I also object to the word stupidity. I honestly believe it was downright maliciousness and their actions were not without intelligence. They knew exactly what they were doing and thought they had the rights to do it. That was not stupid. It was evil. Calling them stupid makes them out to be fools and somehow deserving of our compassion for just being simple idiots.

In EVERY other single case of a rootkit being installed on consumers systems without their knowledge, there WOULD be a criminal court case. Sony does it.... nothing.

Re:The downside... (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992677)

See them in jail? For what? For making the decision to include a feature they licensed from some scummy DRM developer and they had no clue how it worked? Those execs had no clue what they were doing other than that it would potentially help stop people from pirating their music. Execs rarely have a clue about anything technical and they are the ones who make the decisions. Anyone else down the chain either didn't know either or wasn't big enough on the radar to matter. Not saying Sony's not completely innocent, but they aren't the evil corporate fat cats people make them out to be due to that "rootkit" matter. The real evil are the individuals who made the technology and sold it to Sony. They knew what it was going to do.

Re:The downside... (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#26993041)

I still don't buy it. I think the execs at Sony did have knowledge of what they were doing. In any case, I hope we can at least agree that *somebody* needed to go to prison here. If you are right and Sony execs were just ignorant of what their underlings brought them as an option, then fine. I want the person that knew what a rootkit was, what it did to the systems, to go to prison.

Re:The downside... (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26993149)

The real evil are the individuals who made the technology and sold it to Sony. They knew what it was going to do.

or maybe the people who sold the technology to Sony knew exactly what they were doing, and specifically designed it that way because they wanted a worldwide backlash against DRM? ...see, I can make unsubstantiated claims too.

Re:The downside... (2, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26993729)

A rootkit is the very definition of "gaining access to a computer system without authorization."

They quite literally hacked into their customers' computers without their knowledge. How is that not criminal?

Re:The downside... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26997679)

They quite literally hacked into their customers' computers without their knowledge.

Literally? Did they use an axe?

Re:The downside... (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26993953)

I also object to the word stupidity. I honestly believe it was downright maliciousness and their actions were not without intelligence. They knew exactly what they were doing and thought they had the rights to do it.

You're absolutely right, I stand corrected.

Re:The downside... (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994875)

You do realize that it was not just sony. In fact there are some companies still doing this. The German release of Mr and Mrs Smith come to mind as one such case. Also unlike in the sony version, the company makes you enter a n digit code to remove it, and only permit you to remove it *once*.

The enemy here is not Sony. Its corporations in general, but in particular the ones that are scared to death by the internet and our ability to copy bits.

Re:The downside... (2, Interesting)

Linker3000 (626634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26995375)

I am just waiting to see what kind of 'nearly-the-same-as-all-other-power-connectors-but-slightly different-so-you-need-to-buy-Sony-originals-and-nothing-else-will-fit' they come up with this time.

Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (4, Informative)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991117)

Not sure this is the best alcohol fuel to oxidize (burn) in a fuel cell use? http://fscimage.fishersci.com/msds/14280.htm [fishersci.com]
Ethanol is a less toxic and less reactive to metals (and much safer) alcohol to use. https://fscimage.fishersci.com/msds/89308.htm [fishersci.com]
From another methanol MSDS: "Releases flammable vapors below ambient temperatures. When mixed with air and exposed to ignition source, vapors can burn in open or explode if confined. Mixtures with water and as little as 21% (by vol.) methanol are still flammable (flash point less than 104F). Under some circumstances, may corrode certain metals, including aluminum and zinc and generate hydrogen gas. A methanol fire may not be visible to the naked eye."

Aren't many laptops made of aluminum and zinc and magnesium? What happens when the lithium battery decides to cook off? Hummmm?
(In any case, I am sure the TSA will let us all board planes with our alcohol-fueled laptops.)

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991231)

It's possible that they don't use ethanol for the same reason the 85% is as high as ethanol for cars is allowed to go. That being there are people stupid enough to try to drink it and you might actually have to limit it's sale as alcohol unless you could show that it is nearly impossible to access it.

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26991509)

Can you please cite that claim? Unless I see some evidence, I really doubt that's true.

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (1)

neomunk (913773) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997207)

If the ethanol they sold at the pump was 100% pure, you could call it moonshine and be completely accurate. GP is absolutely right. You can do the googling for yourself.

Adding the methanol removes the need for a gas station to purchase a liquor license.

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (2, Informative)

billsnow (1334685) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992039)

you can make ethanol non-drinkable (and toxic) by adding a bit of methanol. It's called denatured alcohol. 100 percent ethanol is used as a fuel in many applications. I've used both methanol and ethanol for fueling my backpacking stoves. Ethanol has a slightly higher energy density (more joules per gram); methanol is slightly more volatile (ignites more easily). Ethanol has the edge for camping in the backcountry because I can mix it with lemonade packets for a cocktail. Methanol would make me vomit (or die if I took enough).

If I had to guess why methanol is used instead of ethanol: it's cheaper. It's also possible that the volatility of methanol (compared to ethanol) makes it a more suitable fuel for the technology (fuel cell).

Why suggest we use a fuel because it's non-toxic? Are there confused people at the gas pump trying to drink from the hose?

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (3, Insightful)

Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992221)

Ethanol always has methanol in it. In the presence of ethanol, methanol is not toxic because the ethanol prevents it from being converted into formaldehyde. The treatment for methanol poisoning is an ethanol drip.

Methanol is used because ethanol fuel cells don't exist technologically yet. Methanol is a much simpler molecule.

Methanol is more toxic than gasoline in the sense that methanol has a very low vapor pressure and so if there were a spill in an enclosed area, you would breathe in a good amount of it, which could cause blindness.

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (3, Informative)

Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992273)

Sorry, apparently my first paragraph is based on an urban legend, not facts. Ethanol does usually have a very tiny amount of methanol in it, and ethanol will compete for the alcohol dehydrogenase that will make the methanol toxic, but ethanol is not sufficient treatment by itself to make the methanol safe.

I think. I'm not totally sure I trust wikipedia more than the postdocs in my lab. Meh. Better safe than sorry though.

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 5 years ago | (#26995655)

yes the problem with ethanol fuel, is that the government loses a revenue source. there is nothing stupid about drinking ethanol, in fact almost everyone does it. they really don't care about peoples health because, down and out people will still drink their methanol "denatured" poisoned brew.

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (2, Informative)

Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992171)

Um, they limit it to 85% because if it's higher than that, most gasoline internal combustion engines will not be able to ignite it. In many cars, it's limited to 10% because the O-rings will degrade in the presence of ethanol.

Further, getting ethanol higher than 90% is extremely expensive and typically requires adding toxic chemicals such as benzene. ...

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992425)

Further, getting ethanol higher than 90% is extremely expensive and typically requires adding toxic chemicals such as benzene. .

Huh? I can buy a 750ml bottle of Everclear [wikipedia.org] for $20. It's 95% ethanol and given that it's intended for consumption I'm guessing they didn't add any toxic chemicals to it.

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (1)

mikeee (137160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992765)

$27/L is pretty expensive for a fuel with about the same energy content as gasoline.

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (1)

rcw-home (122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992773)

The grandparent probably meant 95% (technically, 95.6%), not 90%. Ethanol is hygroscopic (it absorbs water). If you have 100% ethanol, and leave it exposed to air (or attempt repeated distillations), it'll become 95.6% ethanol + 4.4% water (Everclear). Additives can prevent this - the grandparent mentioned benzene and Wikipedia mentions glycerol. If you're drinking it, you probably want to stick with that 4.4% water. Maybe a little more than that, actually.

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (2, Informative)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#26993637)

The important part about the 96% limit is that it is the maximum obtainable by distillation. If you achieve >96% by use of chemicals it is easy to maintain it at that level by putting it in a sealed bottle which prevents it absorbing water vapour from the air.

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (5, Informative)

Gibbs-Duhem (1058152) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992121)

(I study this for a living.)

Methanol is better because there aren't any carbon-carbon bonds to cleave. This makes it easier to find catalysts that will functionally convert it into CO2 and H+ ions. Smaller molecules are just generally simpler to work with.

In the end, methanol based fuel cells exist. Ethanol based fuel cells don't. I'm working on it, but it'll be a while =)

As far as safety, methanol is mostly dangerous because if it is ingested or inhaled, it will be converted into formaldehyde in the body and cause blindness. Methanol is not particularly more corrosive than ethanol/water, and while it has a lower vapor pressure than ethanol, the quantity of methanol present in a battery form factor is likely to be far too small to produce a serious hazard.

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994301)

"Ethanol based fuel cells don't. I'm working on it, but it'll be a while "

How do you guys work on such stuff?

Is it based on "hunches" that certain materials might work in some scenarios, and then you go through the combinations?

While you're at it, how about a fuelcell that runs on hydrocarbons? After all, an efficient way to store hydrogen is around carbon chains :).

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26996405)

I used to work on SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cells) which, unlike methanol and hydrogen fuel cells, operate at high temperature - at least several hundred degrees. On of the benefits of working at high temperatures was a much wide choice of fuel supplies and better ion mobility. In theory SOFCs should be able to run of virtually any hydrocarbon that can be got into the vapour phase at the given operating temperature, in reality I think we would probably be limited to simpler molecules though. Another benefit of SOFC is that it generates quite a bit of heat that can be used for CHP. The draw backs are that they are generally fairly large and they have poor cycling - you have to leave it running - there are plenty of possible installations though such as remote villages, disaster sites, military bases, even 24 hours buses is an option.

As for how you chose materials that's tricky. Generally what happens is someone discovers that a material shows a certain property without really knowing why. A number of chemists will then take an educated guess about what factor is causing the desirable property and make compounds that attempt to enhance said property. Once there is a family of compounds showing the same property it is usually possible to determine what feature(s) are most beneficial and optimize for them although this optimization can take a very long time.

A perfect example of this iterative process is the discovery and development of high temperature super conductors. Someone discovered one and then literally millions of similar compounds were made which slowly increased the super conducting temperature. It wasn't until quite a while after people had all but given up making compounds that the mechanism for high temperature super conducting was determined (one of the groups of SOFC compounds I was looking at were also super conductors).

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26997181)

Why do they have to be large though?

Would aerogel insulation help maintain the temperatures enough, so that the restart times can be significantly shortened?

Re:Methanol is toxic and reacts with metals... (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992353)

Great.

You can be sure that if they could make an ethanol-based fuel cell, they would. There's a good reason their engineers choose the materials that they use. It's easy to say that there are better ones. Getting them to work, not so much.

LiIO + fuel cell (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991121)

so this could potentially be a battery that recharges itself? That's got a really high Geek Factor (TM)

this FP for GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26991137)

ne7er heeded

Great, another SONY product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26991249)

I am still laughing about this Sony product [theonion.com]

(warning, this video has colorful language, you may want to use headphones.)

Can't fly with it (2, Informative)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991401)

Methanol makes a fine carrier for hydrogen. Too bad it's also used in lighter fluid, as in charcoal grill lighter fluid. In the picture, you can see the little tank in the cell that contains the methanol. It's pretty. Very stylish. And guaranteed to make Homeland Security put you in a small room for several hours.

Ok, so you never take it on an airplane. I know! Let's take it to school! 'cause kids listen to MP3s a whole lot on the school bus and wandering around between classes and during class (even though they're not supposed to). "Student expelled for bringing flammable materials^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H a BOMB to school" - headline coming to a slashdot near you. "'It's just my MP3 player!' says student, now permanently on a Homeland Security watchlist."

Ok, so you can never take it to school. I know! Let's use it at home! 'cause surely we can listen to our MP3s in the safety of our own bedrooms. "Rash of house fires sweeps nation" - headline coming to a slashdot near you. "Fire marshals report MP3 players dropped and broken when stepped on is soaking carpets in alcohol and igniting by their own shattered electronics."

Yes, hydrogen is a slippery element. Yes, it's hard to contain it. Yes, it'd be nice if portable electronics had better batteries. No, I don't think a methanol fuel cell is going to solve the problem...

Re:Can't fly with it (1)

Bored Grammar Nazi (1482359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26993231)

I can't agree more. Cars will never catch on because they'll be running around so much faster than our trusty horse carriages. You know, cars are filled with fuel, and they'll be crashing against each other and there will be explosions everywhere. No, I don't think cars will ever become popular.

Re:Can't fly with it (2, Informative)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994903)

And yet we can take Li based batteries onto planes that have a history of starting fires.

Once enough people want it, especially business people who want to use their laptops on longer flights. Then the airlines push back, and usually get their way. At the end of the day, you can't cost the airlines too much money up front.

OLD/Dupe...The Onion already had this story (5, Funny)

CySurflex (564206) | more than 5 years ago | (#26991593)

The onion already had this story several weeks ago:

Sony Releases New Stupid Piece of Shit That Doesn't Fucking Work
http://www.theonion.com/content/video/sony_releases_new_stupid_piece_of [theonion.com]

Re:OLD/Dupe...The Onion already had this story (1)

Nakeot (1486703) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994467)

Incredible. Figure it'd be The Onion to bring the TRUTH to the front of the mess. I could not do the matter justice, alas.

Re:OLD/Dupe...The Onion already had this story (1)

TheTurtlesMoves (1442727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994965)

I would have thought would be almost equally valid for Apples latest piece of over priced junk.

By Neruos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26991779)

Hybrid'ing is NOT THE ANSWER. Hybrid's stiff technology advancement by making a middleware that DOES NOT HELP the current power demand. Hybrids are an attempt at cashing in while looking like you're helping the power demand.

Safety? (1)

mahohmei (540475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992021)

Yeah, I want to carry around some hydrogen with me. Heck, even if *I* were in charge of airport security, I wouldn't want hydrogen beyond my security checkpoints.

I've seen fuel-cell emergency power systems for datacenters and buildings. Sure--I want massive hydrogen tanks laying around. Can you say "terrorist target"?

Coca cola powered makes a lot of sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26992403)

Availability? You can buy Coke in the jungles of Peru. Laugh those "lack of infrastructure" ninnies in the face.

Price? Coke is cheaper than water.

Energy? 13 sugar cubes per can.

You know it makes sense!(TM)

Re:Coca cola powered makes a lot of sense (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26996923)

Availability? You can buy Coke in the jungles of Peru.

I think he meant the soda.

8-)

That's actually not very good... (2, Insightful)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992733)

...Considering most recent cell phone batteries will already last 3-4 days. And does it have enough current capacity to RUN the cell phone, replacing the current battery?

Re:That's actually not very good... (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26992845)

3-4 days?
Do you keep your phone switched off?
I would love a fuel cell which can power my phone for a full year.
I will pay good money to forget the stupid charger.
And i would love a fuel cell for my iBook G4.

Re:That's actually not very good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26994425)

My phone definitely has more than 3 or 4 days standby time, and the battery is more than a year old.

It's a Nokia 1112. The annoying thing about it is it doesn't even have a proper calendar, so I can't use it to help figure out what day of the week Mar 19 2009 is.

But it has a chinese lunar calendar! BUT, the lunar calendar only works if you have it in chinese mode.

WTF.

Re:That's actually not very good... (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 5 years ago | (#26994869)

Hmmm.. surprising.
My LG KU990 gives me 2 days max with Bluetooth off. And hell it is a 3700mAh battery. I guess since its Flash-based, it sucks battery.
What about the iPhone users in this forum?
How much time do you guys get?

 

Short answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26993441)

The short answer? No.

Too easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26993539)

So wait, Sony's going to release a new battery?

Wow, I think the potential for hilarity just made my brain spontaneously catch on fire.

Sony, please stop trying to reinvent the battery and stick to technologically superior yet DRM and root-kit laden next-generation mini-Blu-Max

Sorry for the inconvenience (1)

jebrew (1101907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26998261)

I dunno, maybe because it's too early, but I read the headline as "Sorry to Unveil..." and all I could think was "it's okay, one of these day's we'll actually have an alternative power source."

need coffee...

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