×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Hitachi Readies Fuel Cell for PDAs

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the fill-'er-up-with-unleaded dept.

Handhelds 205

Anuj Jain writes "The Register is reporting that Hitachi and Japanese cigarette lighter maker Tokai will ship a direct methanol fuel cell system for PDAs in 2005. The prototype has already been built. The two companies believe they can develop the prototype into a device the size of a AA battery. Hitachi first demonstrated its fuel cell system back in March. NEC is also known to be working on a similar system of its own, as is Toshiba. Unlike Hitachi, they are targeting the notebook computer market. In October, Toshiba showed off a PDA-sized version of its fuel system that can recharge a mobile phone. Another article here. Light on details, but cool photo in the Reg article!"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

205 comments

Hello (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702773)

I'm still high

Listen to Beatallica (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702979)

(tune: Let It be)

THE THING THAT SHOULD NOT LET IT BE

When I find myself in times of trouble
Hybrid children come to me
Pray for father roaming--roaming free
And in my hour of darkness
It is standing right in front of me
He is the thing that should not let it be
Let it be, let it be
Hybrid children watch the sea
He is the thing that should not let it be
Crawling chaos underground people
Living in the world agree
The wretch is fearless with insanity
And though he has been sleeping
There is still a chance that he will see
That this thing should not let it be
Not dead which eternal lie
With stranger eons death may die
These are words of wisdom--let it be
I wake up to the sound of music
Let the metal come to me
Death to the one that will not let it be

Re:Listen to Beatallica (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703059)

Great Cthulhu! At least be properly seasonal! [slashdot.org]

Over the River and through the Woods

Over the River and through the Woods
To the Plateau of Leng we go
We hope that someday
we can finally say
that we saw the god on the slooo ope

Over the River and through the Woods
To Kadath so cold we go
Nightgaunts pull the sleigh
to hurry their way
past the Shantaks O, we hooo ope

Over the River and through the Woods
I fear that we've gone too far
the Gods don't condone
a mortal at home
farewell those who listened this far......

First.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702777)

troll [goatse.cx]

"Light on details" (4, Funny)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702792)


Yep, that'd be the hydrogen :-)

Simon.

Recharge? (4, Funny)

medscaper (238068) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702926)

...methanol fuel cell systems...


Tech : No, sir. You should NOT try to recharge them like that...

Re:"Light on details" (3, Informative)

Erioll (229536) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703057)

But it isn't pure hydrogen. They are reforming Methanol, which if I remember correctly, is CH3OH. A lot of us know that the products of the Hydrogen-Oxygen fuel cell is just pure water, but what OTHER products are there for this process? The carbon at least has to be accounted for somehow. I've never seen that answered anywhere. If anybody has a link or something, that would be appreciated.

Erioll

Re:"Light on details" (3, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703122)

Now just imagine the smog in the cabin with 300 of thes things operating. Later we'll have to put catalytic(sp) converters on them. Then it will smell everyone on board ate hard boiled eggs for lunch.

Re:"Light on details" (4, Informative)

zmooc (33175) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703328)

http://www.cheresources.com/fuelcell.shtml [cheresources.com] . It basicly comes down to this:


"Environmental Acceptability - Because fuel cells are so efficient, CO2 emissions are reduced for a given power output. The fuel cell is quiet, emitting only 60 decibels at 100 feet. Emissions of SOx and NOx are 0.003 and 0.0004 pounds/megawatt-hour respectively. Fuel cells can be designed as water self-sufficient. "

The complete reaction is explained there as well.

Hint for U.S. unit-impaired dudes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703133)

Nm is not "nautical miles", mmkay?

Early Adopter? (4, Insightful)

l810c (551591) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702804)

After reading this [pcmag.com] , not sure if I will be.

Also, the thought of a liquid methanol next to all those hot electronics make me wince.

Akmed to airport security: "I told you, I'm a laptop battery salesman..."

Re:Early Adopter? (5, Insightful)

Kris Thalamus (555841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702933)

Even if the amount methanol in these AA size cells poses no risk, I still think manufactures should consider changing the changing the name of the devices to something other than "fuel cell"; If, for no other reason, than to quell the paranoia of the litigation prone public and the sensationalist press.

It's a sad state of affairs, but PR and marketing can make all the difference to the acceptance of a nascent technologh.

Re:Early Adopter? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702957)

Methnol isn't flammable. It's inflammable.

Re:Early Adopter? (4, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703031)

Last I checked, they served 80 proof alcoholic beverages on airplanes. These things use a 20% methanol solution. They're way safer than a nip from the bar cart.

There is zero chance of one catching fire in your pocket too. You can't say that about the LiIon cell in your Tungsten T3.

Re:Early Adopter? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703116)

I wouldn't recomend drinking methonol.

Well I might, depending on what kind of person you are. But in general I wouldn't.

Re:Early Adopter? (1, Interesting)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703280)

They also have cutlery on planes that can be used as a weapon but you can't bring your own stuff on board.

Also, even if a security guard understands your reasoning, I doubt that you can still get on with "chemicals".

Re:Early Adopter? (1)

hiryuu (125210) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703358)

FWIW, Methanol does have a lower flashpoint (12C) than ethanol (16.6C). Having them in solutions does help to mitigate the flammability hazards, granted.

Re:Early Adopter? (2, Interesting)

Zardoz44 (687730) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703394)

80 proof means 40% alcohol by volume, and that's mostly Ethanol. Methanol is a different beast.

See here. [iupui.edu]

Re:Early Adopter? (1)

El (94934) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703393)

Dvorak is both a moron and a whore who says whatever companies pay him to say. I wouldn't make any decisions based on what he says.

In capitalist Japan... (-1, Offtopic)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702810)

they stick cigarette lighter into your portable!

Mods on crack again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703255)

Should I explain that to you?
They pack fuel in a cell that will be used in PDA. In cooperation with a lighter-making company. In many respects the cell will resemble a gasoline lighter. Now you can laugh.

And oh, yeah, better pass over that remaining mod points and sit down, or you could hurt yourself.

Good reason to get a clear cased pda (1, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702822)

This is all the more reason for there to be a transparent case option for pda's. How cool would it be to see the board, plus a glow-in-the-dark mod'ed fuel cell? Sweet!

'Terrorist' risk? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702828)

If I am not mistaken, they currently give people much grief over taking a lighter aboard a plane. This would only aggrivate the situation.

I can just imagine a business traveler trying to argue his way into letting security let him take a 'recharge' of pure methanol onboard the plane.

Re:'Terrorist' risk? (1, Offtopic)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702944)

"...let him take a 'recharge' of pure methanol onboard the plane."
Just eat a can of beans before take off, then they might ask why are you getting an enima from your laptop.

Beans, beans, the magical fruit...

Re:'Terrorist' risk? (2, Interesting)

nova20 (524082) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702964)

supposely this battery lasts for 7-8 hrs. You can fly almost anywhere (and in most cases, back) in 8 hrs.

and mind you, that's 8 hrs *continuous use*. The battery on my palm will last for 4 hours on continuous use, but if I don't actively use it, it could last for months.

My point is, that if the battery does last this long, then there would be no use to take a recharge on the plane with you (at least not in your carry-on luggage).

Even if you were on vacation or something and you needed to recharge, I'm sure (by the time this technology is viable) that it would be fairly redily available at a specialty store (like radio shack). If other markets start using this tech, there will be a higher demand for availability of methanol.

Just my $0.02

/nova20

Re:'Terrorist' risk? (1)

katre (44238) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703028)

supposely this battery lasts for 7-8 hrs. You can fly almost anywhere (and in most cases, back) in 8 hrs.

Never been to Tokyo from New York, have you? Why not try Australia? The San Francisco-Melbourne flight is about 14 hours nonstop, as I recall.

Re:'Terrorist' risk? (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703011)

According to http://www.tsa.dot.gov/interweb/assetlibrary/Permi tted_Prohibited.doc [dot.gov] , you cannot take lighter fluid or other flammable liquid fuel on a plane either in carry-on or checked luggage. ec

Re:'Terrorist' risk? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703089)

I'm thinking this would also apply to the fuel inside the device. The last time I saw this technology it came in cartridge format, although not under high pressure.

The cartridges may be about the size of a lighter for a device the size of a laptop, but hi-capacity versions may be larger. That's still an incindeary, no matter how you look at it...

The only way the security-paranoid TSA will let this slide would be if it was non-flamable, or in such small quantities it would be harmless. Unfortunately, that would also make the technology useless.

And if I remember correctly, the also 'swipe' laptops for 'explosives'. They do this to me every time I go through. This would go crazy if people started using fuel-cell laptops.

Re:'Terrorist' risk? (3, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703139)

The only way the security-paranoid TSA will let this slide would be if it was non-flamable, or in such small quantities it would be harmless. Unfortunately, that would also make the technology useless.

GAH!

1. Read
2. Think
3. Post

It's very simple.

It's right in the story. 20% solution. Non-flamable. In fact the device *can't work* with pure methanol. It needs a 3-6% solution. I'd hardly call making it non-flamable the same as making it useless. Making it non-flamable is the *only way* to make it useful.

Fuck the war on terror - war is not Freedom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703099)

Quite frankly, fuck the "terrorist threat".

How long have we been on the yellow/orange alert?

How long has the administration invaded our privacy [projectcensored.org] on the grounds of "fighting the terrorists"?

How many American citizens are going to be deprived of their constitutional rights [chargepadilla.org] ?

How many people in general are going to be subjected to delayed justice [bbc.co.uk] ("justice delayed is justice denied").

Fuck the war on terror! War is not Freedom! Vote out the warmongering moron-in-chief in 2004!

Re:'Terrorist' risk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703192)

As I understand, Motorola (with Los Alamos) is developing a similar device with ethanol as a fuel. One is currently permitted to bring alcoholic beverages under (about) 70% abv (can't remember exactly) upon a plane, as long as the container is unopened. The flavorings in most palatable beverages will presumably have a deleterious effect, so I predict an upshot in sales of Everclear nips.

What would be very funny here is if denatured ethanol was not permitted on board a plane, as we'd have an implicit age discrimination for using electronic devices. However, I think that it would be, at least after a simple ruling.

Re:'Terrorist' risk? (1)

persona 9 (731741) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703220)

>they currently give people much grief over taking a lighter aboard a plane

Methanol is not THAT flammable, somewhere around the danger of vodka, rum, etc. I'm sure they'll amend the rules for a small quantity > 1 oz

The butane in a lighter is volatile, and could easily be vaporized and mixed in a bag or something for a small bomb.

What? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702832)

Now I have to take my PDA to a gas station when the battery is low?

Re:What? (1)

jetkust (596906) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703209)

Uhh...I think you mean liquor store. Now if anyone accuses you of being alchoholic, you can just say that the endless bottles of empty vodka bottles in your apartment was pda fuel.

which reg link, you ask? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702833)

there are four (yes, 4) links to theregister up there. the one with the pic is the first one.

Smoke 'em if you got 'em (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702834)

Balls, that is.

Hooray. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702840)

Now I can run my PDA for more then 8 hours... Hooray? So helpful? Thanks guys? :confused:

Fortress of Insanity [homeunix.org]

Competing Technology (4, Informative)

Leme (303299) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702843)

There is also a competing technology being developed using sodium borohydride. You can read about it at Wired, at the following URL , http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,1282,60305, 00.html

Re:Competing Technology (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703298)

I'd rather have a battery that never dies. Get me a radioisotope with a half-life of 20 years or less, and use a few grams to propel a tiny Stirling engine driving a 3/4" DC generator. That should be good for at least a few watts of power per stack. One stack could power your cell phone no problem. A larger stack (or perhaps parallel stack) could generate enough power to at least recharge your laptop when not in use. Perhaps even provide constant power.

Screw fuel cells. I want atomic!

creators' newclear power sails already fueled (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702845)

Due to excessive bad posting...blah blah blah.

you call this weather?

unprecedented evile/corepirate nazis/softwar thugs (Score:-1)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 12, @06:04AM (#7699252)
cloning each other/themselves?

they need to .continually refresh the suppLIE of wannabe fraudulent phonIE monIE billyonerrors, as the # of those with felony grand larcenIE indictmeNTs pending, or already sentenced, & on 'probation', grows daily.

no matter, as the unprecedented evile execrable's clones are greed/fear/ego based also, they are no match for the creators' newclear power, & planet/population rescue mandates..

actually, this stuff is unbreakable, operates seamlessly on several (more than 3) dimensions, & offers unlimited energy to build on.

a real nightmare for the whoreabull payper liesense corepirate nazi softwar gangster stock markup fraud execrable/walking dead contingent.

for each of the creators' innocents harmed, there is a badtoll that must/will be repaid by you/US, as the greed/fear/ego based perpetraitors of the life0cide against the planet/population, will not be available to make reparations.

felonious softwar gangsters hoping to freeze time? (Score:0)

by Anonymous Coward
on Thursday December 11, @06:35AM (#7688518 [slashdot.org])

buy striking DOWn UN motion to promote gnu/free stuff to developing nations.

they
seem to have hit the eXPanding georgewellian fuddite corepirate nazi
execrable moretoll bullock. it's really just a sintax (t)error, whereas
the fuddites' infactdead process, keeps replacing the 'one' in one
wwworld, with won.

lookout bullow. continued pretending does not help/makes things worse?, if that's even possible.

united? nations? just won?

consult
with/trust in yOUR creators.... the light itself, is not frozen, but
does function just as well in extremely low temperatures, all the
way down to mynuts won? see you there?

That's no photo (1)

Eccles (932) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702855)

cool photo in the Reg article!

It's a computer generated image, but clearly it can fool a casual glance.

Alternative Reasons (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702859)

The PDA unfortunately has pop-ups that come up every 5 minutes telling you how smoking is good for you and increases your annual income.

The swiss army knife for the new millenium.. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702873)

PDA, Cellphone, radio, recording device, large file caddy, mp3 player, game system, mini-torch, cigarette lighter, sterilizer, and home blindness kit.

EtOH (5, Interesting)

zumbojo (615389) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702883)

Ethanol stores more chemical energy, is easier to make, easier to come by in a pinch (cheap vodka anyone?), and is much less toxic than methanol. Why the hell aren't they using ethanol?

Re:EtOH (4, Interesting)

Kevin Burtch (13372) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703038)


Simple, you can't drink methanol.
If they made it run on ethanol, moonshine would have to be legalized.
This is why, when you go to Home Depot to buy a gallon can of alcohol for cleaning or fuel, it's denatured (ethanol mixed with methanol to poison it).
No, you can't run it on cheap vodka, whiskey, or any other kind of legally sold consumable alcohol, as there's far too many impurities - it would destroy the cell.

Now making it run on denatured alcohol would be ideal, since it is readily available and extremely inexpensive. I'm not sure it won't run on it, in fact it probably will.

Why not ethanol (4, Interesting)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703078)

The reason they don't want to use ethanol is precisely BECAUSE it is the same as alcohol.

If they use ethanol, they have to treat the refills just as they would have to treat vodka - they cannot sell it to anybody under-age, they have to have a liquor license to sell it, they got to prison if they violate the rules.

That is why you don't see pure ethanol at the gas pump, that is why you won't see ethanol fuel for fuel cells.

Now, the COULD try to design the fuel cell to run on ethanol, as well, and leave the fact as a "back door" sort of issue, but any fuel they sell will have to be denatured in some form. The easiest way is to use methanol.

Re:Why not ethanol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703246)

To get really pure ethanol you need to use benzene a carcinogen. This makes people sad. Especially those with prostates or boobies. Those crazy college chemists....

Re:EtOH (2, Interesting)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703291)

Uhh, it's a fuel cell, not combustion, so using heat of combustion doesn't make much sense.

My educated guess is that it's more desirable to strip hydrogen off methanol than ethanol to get hydrogen for the fuel cell operation than ethanol. (Desirable here could be cost, package size, efficiency, whatever - I'm no expert.) I do know that you get *slightly* more hydrogen per mass of ethanol (6/46 vs 4/32) than you do per mass of methanol - so i'm not sure. But, methanol is easier to vaporize, might have different corrosion properties...*shrug*

This is all entirely speculation, but it sure sounds like I know about the topic on which I'm speaking.

I wonder... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7702886)

Is it possible to bring something like that inside a plane?

Enough with the marketing speak... (5, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702892)

sufficient fuel to power a handheld device for six to eight hours.

That's meaningless! Give me some hard data! What's the voltage, the peak and average current ratings, the amp-hours? Can it blink a handheld LED for 6 hours, or run a 400Mhz ARM core with a backlit color display for 6 hours? Is the power density higher than an LiIon battery of the same size? How much does it cost? Can it be refilled in place without turning off the device?

Seems to me that if this was actually signifigant progress, they'd be telling us all this.

Looking down the line (1)

pvt_medic (715692) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702897)

Well who knows, maybe one day they put little nuclear reactors in the PDA. The fun will be when one day these battery packs explodes. (its only bound to happen). Artcile previous on Slashdot about Batteries. [slashdot.org]

Re:Looking down the line (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702970)

These things are going to explode way less often than current battery packs. You'll have a hard time igniting a 20% methanol solution.... and that's only when it's fully charged.. It get's diluted down to as low as 3% by the time the cell is fully discharged. It's practically water.

The fuel cell industry needs to work on it's terminology to stop the misguided myth generation.

Re:Looking down the line (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703043)

"The fun will be when one day these battery packs explodes."

PDA: Mind if I smoke?
Me: Why, are you on fire?

Hello, (-1)

Genghis Troll (158585) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702903)

Who would win in a fight, Buckethead or the ghost of Typhoid Mary? Also, is it true that white people don't have souls?

Laptop power consumption & airplane security (4, Interesting)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702921)

I wonder how much methanol will be needed to keep modern laptops running? At 50 W power consumption, a laptop consumes about as much energy as half a person. With an energy content of 19.5 MJ/kg MeOH and assuming a 75% conversion efficiency, a laptop needs almost 100 gm of methanol for an 8 hour flight.

Something tells me that airlines and security people won't like the idea of people carrying 4 ounce cartridges of flammable pure methyl alcohol onboard flights. Even in a "secure" cartridge form factor, the liquid would seem to pose a hazard if a terrorist learns how to open the cartridge and set fire to the liquid.

Re:Laptop power consumption & airplane securit (3, Insightful)

iantri (687643) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702960)

Forks are also a very serious security risk. A terrorist could say, jam his fork from his meal into a passing flight attendent or worse, the captain.

Therefore, we should ban forks from planes.

Let's be realistic -- there's only so much you can do.

Re:Laptop power consumption & airplane securit (1)

Hollins (83264) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703104)

The magnitude of risk doesn't seem to be the criteria being used these days, however. They're confiscating nail clippers for pete's sake. Can we really expect that they'll allow cannisters of a combustible fluid on board?

Re:Laptop power consumption & airplane securit (2, Funny)

fader (107759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703120)

Therefore, we should ban forks from planes.

I know you were joking, but they did. About 9 months ago, I was stopped by security when doing the pre-boarding check and given the third degree. It turns out that I had a fork in my backpack that I kept just in case and had forgotten about. They actually made me throw it away before I could get on the plane, and double checked everything I had to make sure I wasn't carrying anything else I could hijack the plane with. (Yeah, because there's no way you could ever fight off a scrawny computer geek if he were armed with tableware.)

Re:Laptop power consumption & airplane securit (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703157)

Therefore, we should ban forks from planes

Shows how long since you last flew; utensils ARE already banned.

Re:Laptop power consumption & airplane securit (4, Insightful)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703077)

It's clear from all the mindless paranoia that we should just ban airlines.

Or we could all start thinking rationally.... Which one of those is more likely?

Re:Laptop power consumption & airplane securit (1)

GTRacer (234395) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703294)

Dammit dammit dammit!

Oh for just one more point! You'd get a +1 Insight for sure! As it is, I spent the last one this morning...

GTRacer
- Parent makes sense

Re:Laptop power consumption & airplane securit (1)

2nd Post! (213333) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703079)

What the hell kind of laptop are you running that consumes 50W!?

I've a 47WHr battery and my laptop can last me 3 hours on a plane, easy; or roughly 16W is consumed by my laptop...

Re:Laptop power consumption & airplane securit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703286)

Let's take an iBook for instance. 60WHr battery. It can probably last a few hours easy.

But then again, our laptops would seem a bit more efficient than the larger Dells and Gateways and what have you.

50 W Laptop of tomorrow (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703366)

What the hell kind of laptop are you running that consumes 50W!?

I agree that most current laptops don't consume 50W (your figure of 16 W is more representative). But it seems that laptop power consumption is on the rise, especially with the advent of "desktop replacement machines". It also seems that one rationale for fuel cells would be to provide larger power budgets for smaller devices (to support 64-bit processors, larger displays, and watt-guzzling graphics chips for gaming). Thus, the 50W is an extrapolation based on both the trend of increasing laptop power consumption and the seeming attractiveness of designing for increased laptop power budgets.

Fuel cells would seem to provide the power needed to bring near-desktop performance to the laptop. Only after the sale, would the poor consumer discover that they must buy and schlep fuel cartridges on every trip.

Re:Laptop power consumption & airplane securit (1)

RealErmine (621439) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703103)

Something tells me that airlines and security people won't like the idea of people carrying 4 ounce cartridges of flammable pure methyl alcohol onboard flights. Even in a "secure" cartridge form factor, the liquid would seem to pose a hazard if a terrorist learns how to open the cartridge and set fire to the liquid.

I bet you read the 300 word article and just missed these 30 words:

The water produced by the electricity-generating chemical reaction is used to dilute the fuel down to the right concentration, 3-6 per cent, needed for the reaction to take place.

Let's see you ignite a 3-6% mixture of methanol in water.

Weight of dilute fuel (1)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703223)

I bet you read the 300 word article and just missed these 30 words:

"The water produced by the electricity-generating chemical reaction is used to dilute the fuel down to the right concentration, 3-6 per cent, needed for the reaction to take place."


Yes I did miss those 30 words, mea culpa, I should have RTFA more closely.

Yet dilution creates other problems. One of the articles suggests a 20% MeOH concentration. This suggests that with a 50 W device and a75% efficient fuel cell, the poor traveller would need to carry 1 pound of diluted fuel for every 8 hours of expected use. Since these fuel cells are not rechargable, the traveller would need to carry enough fuel to last an entire trip (at least until the cartridges become available in every over-priced hotel gift shop in the country).

Dilution solves the flammability threat, but creates usability issues.

Re:Laptop power consumption & airplane securit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703204)

Great, another reason for airport security to steal my shit.

"Uh sorry sir this sweet, sweet laptop is terrorism... yoink!"

"Hey! that's my property!" *is shot eleven times*

We're lucky terrorists are stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703212)

I'd be more worried about them building a small thermite charge in the case of a large zippo lighter.

To say nothing of a more potent explosive.

Cool, but... (3, Insightful)

Mean_Nishka (543399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702951)

While this sounds cool I wonder how practical this will really be.. When I need PDA juice I just pop the thing in the wall and I'm charged. I don't think people will like having to buy methanol cartridges for $5 a shot in order to keep the thing running. To me it's more economical to operate it off the battery and pay the few cents it takes to charge it.

dual power (1)

Dynamic Ranger (725268) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703053)

Could it have a battery in the same form factor? Then you could use the expensive, long-lasting fuel cell for the long trips away from the charger, and the cheaper battery for everyday use.

Re:Cool, but... (-1, Troll)

napsterposter (258980) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703198)

My cock was spurting all this jism and it was firing like a fire hose as I
watched the father next door fuck his 18 yr old daughter.

She is amazing and prematurely developed. No matter. He had her wear a
paper bag over her head with only the mouth cut out. He had drawn pretty
cartoon eyes like the transvestite bugs bunny or bugs' bunny's GF or
something.

Then he smeared Jiffy on his penis, "Eat the peanut butter stick" I saw
him mouth through the scope of my rifle, which shook as the other hand was
masturbating me.

As I saw him climax I fired and watched his head explode, and I jizzed as
the bullet fired and his daughter gagged and tore off the bag in time to
be spattered on her sex and face with daddy's brains screaming "Daddy
Daddy DADDY!" and this I heard as the window pane shattered.

I collapsed, spent, waiting for my roommates to get home so I could
violate their drunken, passed out, slut holes.

Vague on details (1)

peterdaly (123554) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702981)

This is a fine FYI general info PR type article, but it holds little substance. Real power examples would be helpful. 6-8 hour of PDA battery time really does not mean very much without more detailed battery output or PDA power requirement specs. A black and white palm zaire (sp?) takes much less power than a PocketPC device with a good sized color screen and Wi-Fi. Not to mention does it mean constant use, or average (1.5-2hr) use with 6hr standby?

Interesting none the less, but there wasn't much meat to this.

-Pete

Price the desiding factor (1)

Slick_Snake (693760) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702984)

This will only catch on if "the price is right." To the average consumer it doesn't matter if it is better for the environment. The only thing most customers want out of this sort of technology is longer battery life, convenience, and price.

20% solution? (1)

manganese4 (726568) | more than 10 years ago | (#7702995)

If the working concentration is 3 - 6%, why do they start at 20%? I can only assume they have a reaction area + methanol reservoir and the water from the actual reaction is used in the reaction area to dilute the stream of methanol from the reservoir.

The details (2, Interesting)

dassdraugen (729917) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703005)

Duno if it's in the article, but so far Hitachi have manage to produce a prototype with 20% methanol concentration. The proto can run a PDA for about 6-8 hours. They are planning to increase the methanol concentration however, something which should increase the power. The problem now however is what to do with the waste product of the batery, namly water. Not to cool having a leaking PDA in your pocket ;)

Re:The details (2, Interesting)

manganese4 (726568) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703106)

I think you would only get two water molecules for each methanol consummed. (need to work out the wreaction) Given the similar densities and the original 20% methanol concentration. You will only be looking at a 20 to 30% volume increase. If it is 4 to 1 ratio you would definitely begin to have storage issues. A bigger issue would be to ensure the CO2 gas exit is not plugged. Hot electronicss + pressure + flamable material = new PDA

Rechargeable? (3, Interesting)

peterdaly (123554) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703027)

Can someone who knows more about this than me enlighten us on whether these things are rechargeable?

I have a hard time seeing these things catch on if they are one time use.

-Pete

Re:Rechargeable? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703069)

You refill them with liquid fuel. Fuel cells covert chemical (usually liquid) into electricity

Quick Question (-1, Redundant)

bogie (31020) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703029)

Think these devices will be allowed on Airplanes? How about refilling them? Are you supposed to carry around a box of fuel in order to "recharge" your power source? The thing is even though its diluted its still fuel, compared to batteries they would seem to pose as a major threat to passenger safety.

I'm sure by the time fuel cells come on the market you'll be able to drop-kick them, smash em, or simmmer over low heat without worry of a problem, but it doesn't change the fact that conventional batteries will probably still be safer. So I ask again will Fuel Cell powered devices be welcomed aboard airplanes like current battery powered ones are?

Re:Quick Question (2, Interesting)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703186)

Think these devices will be allowed on Airplanes?

Yes.

The fuel is non-flamable. It's 80% water.

it doesn't change the fact that conventional batteries will probably still be safer.

You are wrong. These are safer in every way. The real question is wether they hold enough power to be better than what we already use.

Perhaps a 3-6% Ethanol/Water solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703050)

Perhaps a 3-6% Ethanol/Water solution....I could use BEER to power my PDA, Cell, etc.

Smokey the Bear says... (3, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703085)

When using your methanol based fuel cell system at the campgrounds, always practice safety. Surround your methanol based fuel cell system with rocks to keep the fire from spreading. Be sure when you're done with your fuel cell to put it out with a bucket of water and make sure it has stopped smoking before you leave the area.

Remember what Smokey the Bear says. Only you can prevent your methanol based fuel cell system from starting a forest fire.

Lithium Polymer ion batteries are the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703117)

The idea of using a chemical fuel cell with flamable liquid fuel is insane! Lithium Polymer ion batteries are the future. The airlines will never permit passengers to carry "lighter" fluid with them!

Hurry up damnitall! (2, Interesting)

GoRK (10018) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703128)

We've been waiting for this since you first told us about it 6 years ago, folks. Hurry up and DO it already. It seems every time there is some article on this it's just to fuel some hype for a new round of investment or something. It's always been 'Next Year!!!" or something like that, but never "Look. Here is a cell phone running on a fuel cell. It cost us $100,000 to build this one, but we're ramping up for mass production and should be ready to start the robots up in 12 months." They always have some vague concept artwork and a giagantic prototype and this 'please give us money' verbiage.

As for the airplane problem, first, I don't think there will be any regulation or rules on this until it actually becomes a problem. I mean, they still let you carry a cigarette lighter and a bottle of booze onto a plane and that is no worse. The first second someone sets fire to the inside of a cabin, though, how long do you think before no liquor or fire-making devices are allowed as carry on's?

Now, follow this idea here -- If fuel cells actually exist and are cheap and great AND they have been around long enough and are ubiquitous enough that the airlines have a problem with them it would be highly likely that EVERYONE is walking around with one or more of these things in all manner of electronic gadget they posess. It's also likely that the gadgets have grown increasingly more demanding power wise after the dependence on batteries is freed. Thus, using batteries is really kind of a non option. In order to keep business, airlines would have to do something such as provide reliable and universal alternative power supplies on the airliners or lose business. It's not a problem I'm worrying about. I don't see why people feel the need to keep bringing it up. It's not like we'll even be flying around in planes anymore once these things come to market in about 200 years.

This is what happened last time I used a fuel cell (-1, Flamebait)

napsterposter (258980) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703144)

My cock was spurting all this jism and it was firing like a fire hose as I
watched the father next door fuck his 14 yr old daughter.

She is amazing and prematurely developed. No matter. He had her wear a
paper bag over her head with only the mouth cut out. He had drawn pretty
cartoon eyes like the transvestite bugs bunny or bugs' bunny's GF or
something.

Then he smeared Jiffy on his penis, "Eat the peanut butter stick" I saw
him mouth through the scope of my rifle, which shook as the other hand was
masturbating me.

As I saw him climax I fired and watched his head explode, and I jizzed as
the bullet fired and his daughter gagged and tore off the bag in time to
be spattered on her sex and face with daddy's brains screaming "Daddy
Daddy DADDY!" and this I heard as the window pane shattered.

I collapsed, spent, waiting for my roommates to get home so I could
violate their drunken, passed out, slut holes.

Re:This is what happened last time I used a fuel c (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703239)

Very good. Can you flesh this out into a 847 page novel? I think I can get you a movie deal. Maybe even a first post!

Cool photo my slim anus (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703168)

Light on details, but cool photo in the Reg article!

It'd be a cooler photo if the dude spent an extra 15 minutes in 3DS Max. That is approximately the least realistic product pre-viz I've ever seen. I don't hold it against the Reg, because it probably never occured to them that someone would begin to think that it was supposed to be a photo.

Scuze me.

mtbstudios@rogers.com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7703227)

mtbstudios@rogers.com

please email me some more info.

as per usual (4, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703232)

"...last 6 to 8 hours...".

Then what? Do I buy more cells? Can I plug them into the wall and recharge them?

At least with my AA's and my Laptop I can just charge them when they die. I've used my AA's [GP1600s] since May 2001 quite a bit and they're still going strong [I'd say they count as environmentally friendly considering if you estimate I would have gone through 4AAs a week for two years that's 416AA batteries or roughly 27lbs of waste].

Anyways make a "fuel cell" I can top off with tap water or by plugging into my wall and then maybe I'll consider it [a 1.5v/3Ah AA battery would be nice :-)].

Tom

My only grief... (2, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703339)

...Why won't they make this with ethanol.
Don't you think it would be cool to take a sip from your PDA on cold days?

Why would the public want to......... (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703375)

.....use a device they must inconvienently buy refil cartridges for instead of easily plugging it into the wall to recharge?

Or is the industry just ignoring that little question and is proceeding full steam ahead so the manufacturers can make a lot of money before people wake the fuck up?

Fuel Cells Hazard (2, Funny)

tangent3 (449222) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703390)

Are you sure it's safe to have fuel cells available to the public? Have you seen what the fuel cells powering the T101 in Terminator 3 can do when not properly disposed of?

Recharging cradle? (1)

peterdaly (123554) | more than 10 years ago | (#7703396)

All I can think of is a PDA docking station with a 1 gallon can of methanol attached.

Imagine that bugger sitting on your desk. So much for small and compact.

-Pete
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...