Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

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!

Laptop Fuel Cells Coming Soon

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the whacking-people-over-the-head dept.

181

tomsastroblog writes "Soon laptop batteries could last all day and be recharged from a cartridge. BBC News has a piece on fuel cells as laptop batteries, and what their adoption could mean for laptop usage." From the article: "At the Cebit technology fair in Hanover, Taiwanese hi-tech firm Antig said its fuel cells should be on the shelves of computer shops by early 2007. The first versions of the methanol-using units should keep a laptop going for up to nine hours. Fuel cell technology got a boost recently when international air flight regulators changed rules that banned passengers from carrying flammable methanol onto aircraft."

cancel ×

181 comments

dupe?!?!?!?! (1)

jollyroger1210 (933226) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899137)

I swear this is a dupe, I just cant find the original!!

Re:dupe?!?!?!?! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899181)

I was using IE to search the web today and I never really realized how many ads there are. I usually use FF with adblock enabled. I mean, I actually saw fastclick and doubleclick sites! Things are still pretty bad with advertisers and seem to be getting alot worse too. And /. has Microsoft ads too??! That doesn't make a damn bit of sense to me.

To get back on topic..my laptop battery sucks and I sure could use one of these fuel cells.

eheheh (5, Funny)

soapdog (773638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899139)

gives a whole new meaning to "this laptop is burning my legs..." sorry could not resist...

Re:eheheh (2, Funny)

SeeMyNuts! (955740) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899225)


That isn't the laptop burning your legs. The Alien that sat in that seat before you got a paper cut and bled acid all over the upholstery. Check the back of your pants before standing up--that could be really embarrassing!

Re:eheheh (5, Funny)

LiquidMind (150126) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899262)

just make sure you don't accidentally set your scrotum on fire [smh.com.au]

Price and Stocks (5, Insightful)

komodo9 (577710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899143)

I especially like the ability for them to fit into existing laptops (in the media bay), rather than only working with new, specially-designed laptops. Overall it sounds great, however expensive. It'd probably be years before they can get the price down to a reasonable level. Either way, it might not be a bad idea to go invest in fuel cell stocks now. :)
--
BMW Forum [unitedbimmer.com]

Re:Price and Stocks (2, Informative)

mtenhagen (450608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899168)

Well methanol isnt that expensive. You will probably be sued if you start refilling cartridges but the methanol price is not the issue.

Europe (Valid through March 31, 2006)
European Posted Contract Price                         Euro 268/MT

North America (Valid through March 31, 2006)
Methanex Non-Discounted Reference Price         USD 1.07/Gal*    USD 356/MT

Asia Pacific (Valid through March 31, 2006)
Asian Posted Contract Price                         USD 330/MT

* Converted to USD/MT using a conversion rate of 332.6 Gal per MT

Re:Price and Stocks (2, Insightful)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899436)

*slaps forehead*

I think he may have been talking about the price of the technology, not the price of methanol as fuel.

Re:Price and Stocks (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899260)

Before you go invenst in fuel cell stocks, beware they've had a pretty good run recently.

A good index for tracking this industry (and green/alternative energy in general) is the WilderHill Clear Power Index, which is tracked by Exchange Traded Fund PBW.

That said, here are some interesting stocks in the industry (off top of head):

MDTL, Medis Technologies
HYGS, Hydrogenics
ENER, Energy Conversion Devices
BLDP, Ballard Power
FCEL, Fuel Cell Power
QTWW, Quantum Fuel
PLUG, Plug Power
DESC, Distributed Energy
MCEL, Millenium Fuel Cell
ASRNF.OB, Astris Energy

And a few non-fuel cell focused alt/energy companies:

ACPW, Active Power
CPST, Capstone Turbine
HOKU, Hoke Scientific
XSNX.OB, XSUNX Inc.
CESV, China Energy Saving Technology
GSHF.OB, Greenshift

Honestly, how long can we really go before becoming seriously focused on minimizing the impact of our energy consumption? This seismic shift is coming soon. Some day, a -responsible- US president will not only give lip service, but will actually sets us on the path of an 'Apollo project' in the environmento/energy sector.

Hardware: Laptop Fuel Cells Coming Soon ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899150)

...again...

Seriously, hasn't this appeared every few months for the last 2 years? Can't we have stories about products being 'here' - and preferably built in, rather than having a giant can of Zippo hanging off the side?

I'll get modded down as Cynical or something, but any way you view it, it's true...

Re:Hardware: Laptop Fuel Cells Coming Soon ... (4, Insightful)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899220)

I can understand your possible burnout on the topic, but I think that Slashdot is generally read by people who are interested in cutting edge tech. If the editors only posted articles about things that had already been produced then this would be nothing more than a consumer review site.

As for the "giant can of Zippo," yes, we would all like to have a fuel cell battery that lasts for a week and fits right into the old battery slot, but cut them a little slack. It's a new thing and it's bound to improve and the fact that there may be a laptop fuel cell at all in the near future is pretty interesting.

Re:Hardware: Laptop Fuel Cells Coming Soon ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899613)

Seriously... I read this every month, for the past year!!! This is old news, and I would much rather read an article about when it is used in actual products.

Dupe (0, Redundant)

SirDaShadow (603846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899158)

Ok, So when the hell are these coming? This is like the second article about it in less than 2 weeks or so. Dupe!

Right around the corner.... (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899235)

These people start to sound just like the guys with the flying car and tabletop fusion -- it is always "just around the corner", "any day now", "start investing today!"...sheesh!

Re:Right around the corner.... (1)

bobcat7677 (561727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899596)

Yes, I'm getting a tad tired of the "Fuel cells in laptops next week" articles. Looking through the archives I see we were having the same discussion in June of 2004. I believe Toshiba was demoing a fuel cell laptop around that time. It has very much become a "I'll believe it when I see them on the shelf" situation.

Re:Dupe (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899813)

In My case i will get excited when meth cells have a SKU at the Circle R (i wonder 273 or 230 series?)

Convenience Really Counts (3, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899159)

Most laptop owners don't sit in a proverbial flower field and run their laptops.

Hence, what % of laptop owners would buy a new and no doubt very expensive methanol fuel cell module &, expensive methanol (prepackaged of course), and this assumes a properly package fuel cell module is available for your particular Laptop.

If it leaks and destroys your laptop is it covered by a warranty that replaces your laptop?

Lots of unanswered questions

Re:Convenience Really Counts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899195)

If it leaks and destroys your laptop is it covered by a warranty that replaces your laptop?

It's easy to trot out the "Gee, methanol on aircraft, what could possibly go wrong?" cliche here, I'll admit. However, lithium is not exactly a happy fun metal, either. I'd say give the methanol cells a fair chance in the marketplace. It sounds like a neat technology.

Re:Convenience Really Counts (4, Insightful)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899271)

The reason I'm selling my old laptop on eBay right now is that the battery life is horrid. Now of course 1.5 hours is on the low end of bad nowadays, but I'm really looking for something that should last for a full day of school. While I may not be in some field of flowers, longer battery life is a must for me. I'd say it's just as important as, if not more important than the price of the thing. I don't need a powerhouse (I've got my desktop for that) but being able to get some work done on the go is extremely important for me. I know there are some units available rated for six hours, but that's probably time spent just sitting at the desktop.... I need to at least be able to have a word processor or spreadsheet open. I'd imagine every other soon-to-be college student in the world is looking for that at the very least, not to mention most people that are looking for a laptop that's not to act as a DTR.

Most people wouldn't care whether it's a micro-fusion reactor in their laptop or a flock of nano-gerbils on micro-running-wheels as long as they get good life out of the thing. Well I suppose PETA would take some offense to the latter, but they don't need to know. Point being, for most people, having a laptop is all about mobility, and for the most part battery life is the main issue that comes into play, probably with network access coming in next.

Re:Convenience Really Counts (2, Informative)

KylePflug (898555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899362)

Gateway CX2618 Tablet PC. 14" widescreen, more than 6-hours battery with regular use (and that's in my experience, not on the box), Pentium M 1.6ghz, 1gb RAM, DVD burner, 128mb video, and it's a Tablet, for crying out loud. Runs almost silent. Charges fast. As low as $1399 new, probably cheaper used.

I'm not saying you should buy it, just saying high-performance high-battery laptops are not rare anymore, although admittedly the CX2618 is on the heavy side for a Tablet.

Re:Convenience Really Counts (1)

Antimatter3009 (886953) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899495)

I have a Dell 600m with an extra battery. On one charge with a mid-level brightness it lasts about 7 hours. The extra battery was $50 with the laptop and slides in the side in place of the cdrom drive. It uses that one first and then switches over to the regular one without a reboot or anything. I would recommend this type of thing if you're looking for extra long battery life, especially if you can combine an extra battery with a laptop that gets good battery life to begin with. The 600m has above average battery life to begin with, but you can probably find better.

Re:Convenience Really Counts (1)

$exyNerdie (683214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899551)

Try getting a laptop with Intel Ultra Low Voltage processor. You can easily get 5-6+ hours of battery life.

Available now 7+ hours battery life (1)

$exyNerdie (683214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899590)

For example, Sony VAIO TX Series. If you can afford them, check them out:

* Intel® Centrino(TM) Mobile Technology.
* Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
* Ultra-light 2.76 pounds
* Up to 7.5 hours of battery life

Re:Convenience Really Counts (1)

MrFlibbs (945469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899308)

My first reaction to this was "why not just carry a second battery?" However, the fuel cell does offer two potential advantages:

1) You don't have to shut down and swap in the second battery.
2) It can be recharged in seconds by just topping it off.

Of course, there are issues about cost, number of recharges, possible leakege, etc., but if these are resolved the fuel cell might be a viable product.

Re:Convenience Really Counts (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899419)

1) You don't have to shut down and swap in the second battery.

My computer, a MacBook Pro, can sleep with the battery taken out, and I was under the impression a lot of laptops could now. I know the Powerbooks could.

2) It can be recharged in seconds by just topping it off.

That's assuming there is a nearby laptop fueling station, or you carry a lot of laptop fuel around. AC outlets are neary everywhere.

Re:Convenience Really Counts (2, Funny)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899385)

I'd like a combination laptop-chainsaw!

Re:Convenience Really Counts (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899475)

If it leaks and destroys your laptop is it covered by a warranty that replaces your laptop?


If the existing batteries in your laptop leak and destroy your laptop, are they covered by a warranty that replaces your laptop?

I need a fuel cell powered laptop... (4, Insightful)

Nova Express (100383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899169)

...to run my copy of Duke Nukem Forever. By my estimate, we've been hearing about the imminent arrival of each for about the same length of time...

Re:I need a fuel cell powered laptop... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899456)

hmmm...hasn't Duke Nukem Forever been canceled?.....hope the fuel cell isn't the same....

Re:I need a fuel cell powered laptop... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899505)

not really [3drealms.com]

"flammable" (-1, Troll)

XanC (644172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899171)

That should be "inflammable", as in "capable of being inflamed. There's no such word as "flammable".

Re:"flammable" (2, Informative)

eobanb (823187) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899193)

Of course there is [reference.com] .

Re:"flammable" (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899202)

flammable Audio pronunciation of "flammable" ( P ) Pronunciation Key (flm-bl)
adj.

        Easily ignited and capable of burning rapidly; inflammable.

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=flammable [reference.com]

Re:"flammable" (1)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899209)

actually there is such a word as flammable, and it is the preferred version for fire warnings.

"inflame" comes from the same lating word as flammable (flamma), but is more often used figuratively or in non-technical contexts e.g. "imflammable issue".

Re:"flammable" (2, Funny)

licamell (778753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899216)

Not sure if this was meant to be a joke or not, but I'll bite...

Definition of inflammable [reference.com] :

1. Easily ignited and capable of burning rapidly; flammable.

2. Quickly or easily aroused to strong emotion; excitable.

Definition of flammable [reference.com] :

1. Easily ignited and capable of burning rapidly; inflammable.

Re:"flammable" (3, Funny)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899230)

"Flammable" is a neologism, meant to prevent people from getting killed because they think "inflammable" means "impossible to set on fire."

Re:"flammable" (1)

Peteee (945896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899545)

"Don't worry, It's Inflammable."
(After the explosion) "Inflammable means flammable? What a country!"

Dr. Nick

Re:"flammable" (1)

XanC (644172) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899657)

Yes, I was attempting to coyly criticize dumbing things down for the lowest common denominator, especially in a non-life-or-death Slashdot post.

Judging by the response, that doesn't work on the Internet though... :-)

Re:"flammable" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899546)

Ya you dumb fuck!! Do your fucking home work before you go post dumb ass shit like this. All you had to to is go to dictionary.com or mother fucking Google you bitch!!! I should hunt you down and kill you like the mental fuck you are.!!!!!!!! You shit eating cum guzzling crack whore!!!!!!! DIE DIE DIE puss wad ass monkey cunt dick suck dirty ass crack sniffing penis faced tard muffin!!!!!!

Re:"flammable" (3, Funny)

Psykus (827143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899630)

Did you know that "gullible" isn't in the dictionary?

You realize... (2, Interesting)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899180)

Laptop fuel cartrages mean new DRM and propriatary designs as well as messy (and dangerous) 3rd party refil kits.

Consumers aren't the only ones looking forward to this.

Re:You realize... (3, Insightful)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899192)

Its the Gilette principle brought to computers.

Never before has anyone had to purchase daily consumables for their computer.

My bet, once these take off, they will be sold in the stores at the cig counters alongside the lighter fuel.

Re:You realize... (4, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899374)

Laptop fuel cartrages mean new DRM and propriatary designs as well as messy (and dangerous) 3rd party refil kits.

A lot of people keep saying this, but it just doesn't hold true!

First of all, methanol doesn't pose nearly the health risk most people believe. As someone with a solid non-practitioner background in both chemistry and pharmacology, I would play with methanol over toner or ink any day... Additionally, the breakdown products the the electrolyte in Li-ion batteries makes methanol exposure look like a cool drink of mountain water by comparison (for an idea, the most common counts as a chemical WMD in a different context).

Second, methanol doesn't pose nearly the fire/explosion risk most people believe. The Li-ion batteries we use now pose a FAR greater risk of explosion, and as for fire, if you take the same precautions you would when refueling your car (with yet another far more flamable/explosive liquid), you have nothing to worry about.

Third, refilling... Aside from the previously-mentioned toxicity of ink and toner, methanol evaporates cleanly. So if you spill a few drops, you can just let them evaporate rather than permanantly staining yourself, your table, your laptop, your carpet, your dog, and seemingly anything else even in sight of the ink refill kit.


The biggest complaint about the idea of using fuel cells over a rechargeable battery in laptops comes from the UPS-factor. Even an all-but-dead laptop battery will let it stay up (assuming you have it on AC) through a short power outage, or to move to another outlet, or to quickly reinsert the plug your cat pulled out, etc. Running on a fuel cell, all those advantages disappear unless you use the fuel cell as your primary power source, which could get expensive over time (despite methanol's low cost, AC power costs a hell of a lot less).

Re:You realize... (1)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899793)

I'm not saying that fuel cels are dangerous. I'm one of those guys who wouldn't mind nuclear powered cars. I'm saying that I don't like dealing with ink refil kits, and I don't think fuel cell refil kits would be any more fun.

Laptop, not plugstop. (4, Insightful)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899188)

Today most laptops are just dragged between electric outlets since they wont go for more than a couple of hours without recharging. Having nine hours worth of computer time changes the way you can use a laptop in a pretty significant way. From being used as a portable desktop you can use it as a really portable computer, taking it whereever you go without running amok for a piglets nose.

For me this is something i have longed for since the dawn of laptops.

Re:Laptop, not plugstop. (1)

graphicsguy (710710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899232)

There's actually already a solution to this problem. It's called "extra batteries". They cost money and have weight, but they do work.

Re:Laptop, not plugstop. (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899340)

They also have the advantage of being able to go just about anywhere and have access to a power outlet to recharge them. You can recharge them in hotel rooms, convention centers, office cubicals, etc. The same can't be said about methanol. I can honestly tell you right now that if you had to buy an ounce of methanol, I couldn't tell you where to go to find it.

Are fuel cells the right answer? (3, Interesting)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899468)

I was thinking before that I'd really love to be able to have a laptop with 9 hours of battery life - something I could use in the departure lounge waiting for my transatlantic flight (someone else always gets the seats near the power sockets before me) and then use on a 7hr flight without worrying about battery life.

That's why I got the IBM X41 - I have a 7 cell extra-life battery plugged into the back, and a second slim battery that plugs onto the base of the laptop. The two together give me between 7 and 10 hours of battery life, depending on what I'm doing (usually programming, so I'm not a 'power' user).

Buying the IBM was one of the best decisions I've ever made (no connection to the company, or to Levono who now own their PC business). After my recent flight from London Heathrow to Toronto I had 1.5hrs of battery life left on the machine when I shut it down as we were preparing to land.
 
So... this wasn't that expensive - the laptop and all batteries were less than 1000GBP including tax... is there really a genuine need for fuel cells?
 
Jolyon

Re:Are fuel cells the right answer? (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899538)

Laptops arent the only electronic device that benefits from small fuel-cells. I can think of many other uses for those other than laptops. I also assume here that the efficency of fuel cells will improve over time. The first ones will probably not be optimal. Ofcourse you can solve it with bigger batteries but wight seems to be important. The big breakthrough is more energy stored in a smaller space.

This is something long since needed in electric cars.

Re:Are fuel cells the right answer? (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899578)

Laptops arent the only electronic device that benefits from small fuel-cells.

I can see Schick planning its response to the Gillette Turbo now....

Actually... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899189)

Thye reported this weeks ago.

More useful (3, Interesting)

Epsillon (608775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899191)

IMHO, more useful than a Li-Ion replacement fuel-cell would be a fuel-cell powered universal PSU. Should be:

* No bigger than a mains PSU brick
* Easily replenishable whilst running
* Inexpensive
* Under ten dollars shipping on eBay

OK, that last was a wise crack, but let's sort out the machines that are out there first. After all, what's the point of having your Lappy 486's 41 pounds of allegedly portable dominance running for nine hours if you can't watch a DVD on the 'plane? (RTFA: Media bay, not battery slot)

Re:More useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899370)

copy the film to your hard drive before you board?

Re:More useful (1)

queazocotal (915608) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899441)

41 pounds?

More like 3.7 pounds (486/75 (DEC hinote ultra CT475), with 3 hour + battery life.

Laptops at the ultraportable end have not got appreciably lighter, or with more battery life.

The screens have gotten a little bigger, and more stuff has gotten built in, and they've gotten cheaper - the above laptop was $5000.

Re:More useful (1)

mikek3332002 (912228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899696)

if it could be powered by impure ethanol eg fill it up with beer

Sounds Dangerous (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899221)

FTFA:

"There used to be restrictions on passengers to take methanol on flights," said Ms Tsai.

But, she explained, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) recently changed its guidelines to allow passengers to take methanol cartridges with them when they travel.


From the MSDS for Methanol [bu.edu] :

Warning! Flammable liquid. May cause skin irritation. May cause central nervous system depression. May be absorbed through the skin. May cause kidney damage. May cause respiratory and digestive tract irritation. May be fatal or cause blindness if swallowed. May cause fetal effects. Causes severe eye irritation and possible injury. Target Organs: Kidneys, central nervous system, eyes.

It's a neurotoxin! It casues blindness! And it's highly flammable!

Sounds like a terrorist's dream.

Re:Sounds Dangerous (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899251)

It's a neurotoxin! It casues blindness! And it's highly flammable!

Sounds like a terrorist's dream.


      These toxic effects take far to much time for it to be effective as a weapon. Plus you would need an incredible amount of it if you planned to kill people with an methanol aerosol. In fact ethanol (another neurotoxin you may be more familiar with) might be more effective for this. If you offer it free in a glass to most people, they will actually drink it!

Re:Sounds Dangerous (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899304)

These toxic effects take far to much time for it to be effective as a weapon.

No kidding. By the time they started to try and spray methanol everywhere, I know I would give serious thought to using a low tech "beat the living bejesus out of them" with my old school li-ion battery pack.

Re:Sounds Dangerous (1)

gwjgwj (727408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899536)

In fact ethanol (another neurotoxin you may be more familiar with) might be more effective for this. If you offer it free in a glass to most people, they will actually drink it!
In fact, methanol has the same odour and taste as ethanol. So, they would actually drink methanol as well.

Re:Sounds Dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899713)

In fact, you are so full of shit you squeak when you walk. Methanol smells nothing like ethanol.

Re:Sounds Dangerous (1)

Kaptain_Korolev (848551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899273)

Yes sounds dangerous doesn't it?

But... have you looked at what's in your laptop or cell-phone battery? The answer is a rather unpleasant mix of corrosive substances and reactive metals.

Good design abstracts the user from the dangers of using such materials while allowing them to garner the benefits of doing so. It's an immature technology, give it a chance.

Re:Sounds Dangerous (5, Funny)

fermion (181285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899278)

Other terrorist plots
  • All agent fart on the plane at once
  • Hit passengers over head with NiMH batteries.
  • Bring the new Apple boom box on the plane and force everyone to jump to thier death by playing Celine Dion and Cher.
  • Force passenders to watch a Adam Sandler Marathon on the flight from New Yok to Bejing.

Re:Sounds Dangerous (1)

fjf33 (890896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899424)

The fact that you found the MSDS means to me that you have a clue about what the MSDS is. So my only conclusion is that you are a troll looking for a reaction.

Re:Sounds Dangerous (3, Funny)

pilkul (667659) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899463)

That's nothing. The highly dangerous chemical Dihydrogen Monoxide has been allowed on aircraft for years, and calls for banning it have been summarily ignored. According to this essay at DHMO.org [dhmo.org] , it is known to frequently cause severe burns, and inhaling it is often lethal. Its MSDS [dhmo.org] states it forms dangerous explosive gases if you only mix it with calcium carbide.

Now that's a terrorist's dream. Methanol is the least of our problems.

Re:Sounds Dangerous (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899486)

It's a neurotoxin! It casues blindness! And it's highly flammable!

Sounds like a terrorist's dream.

Sounds like whiskey. Well, that's an exageration. But the key fact here is that methanol (methyl alcohol) and ethanol (ethyl alcohol, or just alcohol to most people) are both alcohols, and thus share characteristics, such as flamability and toxicity. The main difference is that methanol is not considered safe for beverage use in any quantity (though some people drink it anyway), whereas ethanol is considered safe is small quantities (though some people dispute this).

So, not a terrorists dream, just something that's a little more dangerous than a substance that's already allowed on planes.

SmartFuelCell (4, Informative)

danimrich (584138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899243)

There is a German company (http://www.smartfuelcell.de/ [smartfuelcell.de] that is already producing fuel-cell powered generators for camping. I guess it won't take too long until they are small enough to fit in a laptop bag.

Last week, it was 8 hours... (1)

jxyama (821091) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899283)

This week, it's 9. Which is it?

http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/0 3/03/0134241

Re:Last week, it was 8 hours... (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899455)

Wow! They're getting better already. At this rate next year, we'll have laptops that can run over 60 hours!

We should think about polution as well (1)

CMBologna (155447) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899293)

Although the promise of running an entire day on these batteries sounds nice, given how many days there are in a year, how many laptops there are and the cost of the resupply network, I belive it will lead into the same problem that we have with the use of fossile fuels.

Re:We should think about polution as well (2, Interesting)

pentalive (449155) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899332)

Even better, what about several of these running in a closed environment, like a plane in a 4 hour flight! re-cycled smog!
What does methanhol burn to? probably CO2 and water vapor?

Re:We should think about polution as well (1)

Millenniumman (924859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899434)

Methanol is not burned in a fuel cell.

Re:We should think about polution as well (1)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899765)

Even better, what about several of these running in a closed environment, like a plane in a 4 hour flight! re-cycled smog!

A methanol fuelcell for a laptop produces CO2 and water vapor at about the rate of a single human lung. The average human anus releases a far greater quantity of toxic gas than one of these fuelcells. If you are worried about smog in airplanes, processing the human flatus would yield more for your efforts.

Re:We should think about polution as well (1)

slashdotmsiriv (922939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899512)

From the web.

"In DMFC the electrolyte is a polymer and the charge carrier is the hydrogen ion (proton). However, the liquid methanol (CH3OH) is oxidized in the presence of water at the anode generating CO2, hydrogen ions and the electrons that travel through the external circuit as the electric output of the fuel cell. The hydrogen ions travel through the electrolyte and react with oxygen from the air and the electrons from the external circuit to form water at the anode completing the circuit.

        Anode Reaction: CH3OH + H2O => CO2 + 6H+ + 6e-
        Cathode Reaction: 3/2 O2 + 6 H+ + 6e- => 3 H2O
        Overall Cell Reaction: CH3OH + 3/2 O2 => CO2 + 2 H2"

It seems that the by product is some CO2 and hydrogen which most likely is turned into water.

What I dont know is the volume of the produced gases and whether or not they are actually released in the atmosphere
or somehow stored in the cell where they can be released upon refueling or at another time. My guess is that the volume/mass of the produced gases are no more than what is produced by simply burning methanol of the volume of a cartridge.

That's not a lot but could potentially contribute to the greenhouse-effect if everybody starts using them instead of batteries. It would also be a big problem indeed in closed spaces such as planes.

Anybody knowns some answers and what the actual masses/volumes of the by products are? Also anybody knows if those are released upon reaction in the atmosphere or can be released on demand?

enlighten me (1)

RelliK (4466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899334)

So if they can make fuel cells for ficken *laptops* why can't they do the same thing for cars??

Cost + fuel medium (3, Informative)

DarkMan (32280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899465)

The reason fuel cells are much hyped, and preferred over batteries is that they use liquids to produce the electricity. This means that the size of the reaction interface is decoupled from the energy storage medium (whereas in a battery, they are intimately linked [normally]).

So, the size of the reaction interface determines the power that you can get out of the fuel cell, and the size of the energy reservoir determines how long it will last.

A laptop draws, what, 100 watts peak? A car with an 80 hp engine is at 60 kW - 600 times more. A fuel cell big enough to power that would be prohibitive in cost. Not to mention, the fuel cell will degrade with time - impurities in the fuel, and (if it's a polymer cell), degradation in the polymer itself.

Next point is the fuel medium. The energy density of methanol is less than gasoline, at about 22MJ/kg vs 45MJ/kg for gasoline. So, assuming comparable fuel efficency with the internal combustion + mechanical drive vs fuel cell + motors, you'd need twice as much fuel.

There are no good fuel cells that operate on gasoline - the more complex the hydrocarbon, the harder it is to build a fuel cell. Couple that with the way the sulpher tends to kill fuel cells, and it's not feasable (low sulpher gasoline is available - have you ever seen guarenteed no sulpher gasoline?)

So, it would cost more, and you'd only get half the distance on a single tank of methanol. Assuming that you can get the methanol. The whole fuel distribution problem is a seperate case.

All the numbers here are conservative - I'm sure my powerbook draws significantly less than 100W, 80 hp is at the low end for a car - I believe 100hp is more typical. The laptop fuel cells don't use pure methanol, it's methanol and water, further reducing the energy density.

Re:enlighten me (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899489)

So if they can make fuel cells for ficken *laptops* why can't they do the same thing for cars?


They can, and do. Once the price comes down (or people become willing to pay $500,000 for a car), and the infrastructure issues get worked out, we will have them.

flammable methanol? (0, Redundant)

cperciva (102828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899338)

international air flight regulators changed rules that banned passengers from carrying flammable methanol onto aircraft

Yes, but what about the rules which ban passengers from carrying inflammable methanol onto aircraft?

Re:flammable methanol? (1)

ClippySay (930525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899349)

In fact, is there any non-flammable methanol???

Re:flammable methanol? (1)

Blastrogath (579992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899622)

Fuels aren't usually 100% pure, additives and ipurities are commonplace. You simply need to dilute the methanol suficiently with a non-flammible liquid that won't interfere with the fuel cell's operation. It may not work well diluted that far though.

Re:flammable methanol? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899654)

OMFG............. Are a facking mental case or something. Look at the mother fucking post a few above your call Flammable. This dumb ass shity faced conversation has allready happened. You deserve the same shit I rammed out my ass at him. And her it is you CUNT FART!!!!

          "Ya you dumb fuck!! Do your fucking home work before you go post dumb ass shit like this. All you had to to is go to dictionary.com or mother fucking Google you bitch!!! I should hunt you down and kill you like the mental fuck you are.!!!!!!!! You shit eating cum guzzling crack whore!!!!!!! DIE DIE DIE puss wad ass monkey cunt dick suck dirty ass crack sniffing penis faced tard muffin!!!!!!
"

Ok I don't get it. (1)

NDPTAL85 (260093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899346)

So why would I want to pay to recharge my laptop on an almost daily basis when I can simply plug it in for free with a rechargable battery instead?

Re:Ok I don't get it. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899389)

obviously it would be more convenient if they just burnt gasoline like your car. Then you could fill your laptop upw hile youre at the gas station filling your car.

Bad Idea - I can't drink it! (1)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899372)

Before it even make it out to market, I propose beer, vodka, whiskey or gin based batteries. At least when you get sick of work, you can have some fun!!!

Corn Squeezings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899376)

When they start shipping fuel cells that can use Ethyl Alcohol, then I'd have a use for them thar corn squeezings.

Methanol On Board (2, Insightful)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899417)

Fuel cell technology got a boost recently when international air flight regulators changed rules that banned passengers from carrying flammable methanol onto aircraft.

So now when the guy sitting next to you's computer bombs, it means something entirely different.

Welcome to the Futurama (1)

EZLeeAmused (869996) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899430)

Can ethanol burning robots be far behind?

Will Short-lived Devices Survive a Year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899435)

Microsoft recently announced Origami, which has been criticized for it's short battery life of about three hours (among other things). If the fuel cells will actually double or triple the life to six or nine hours, it would certainly be a lot more attractive as a product. Will it last as a commercial product until Microsoft can convert it to fuel cell? Perhaps by that time we'll have a good Linux distribution or two for it as well.

Whiskey Galore (1)

mlush (620447) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899493)

Fuel cell technology got a boost recently when international air flight regulators changed rules that banned passengers from carrying flammable methanol onto aircraft.

Regulations that oddly do not ban the taking of flammable liter bottles of 120+ proof cask strength whiskey aboard. Theres about 1.5 tons of alcohol aboard a passenger 747

Ultra capacitors are the future (1)

erik_norgaard (692400) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899509)

I recall there was a post on this somewhere recently, else see this:

    http://lees.mit.edu/lees/projects/cnt_ultracap_pro ject.htm [mit.edu]

Ultra capacitors now can hols 6Wh/kg which is only a fraction of conventional Li-Ion batteries but according to MIT this can be boosed to 1000 battery capasity by using nanotubes.

And ultra capacitors have a large number of advantages: no dangerous components, recharge in a matter of minutes, better temperature tolerance, longer durability ...

I don't know why people bother to talk about fuelcells...

Re:Ultra capacitors are the future (1)

Blastrogath (579992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899649)

>I don't know why people bother to talk about fuelcells...

Because they may want long life laptop power cells in 1 or 2 years as oposed to in 10 or 20 years?

Is that 'soon' as in... (1)

Expert Determination (950523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899525)

..."it's dinner time soon" or 'soon' as in "we expect our fusion reactor to achieve a positive return very soon".

The big question! (4, Funny)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899564)

The big question (for males) is obviously, would fuel cells increase or decrease the risks of burning the scrotum [msn.com] and penis [theregister.co.uk] ? :-o

Forever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899588)

I can't wait to play Duke Nukem Forever on my Fuel Cell Laptop... coming sooon...

Dupe - Ten-year-old News Story (2, Interesting)

billstewart (78916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899703)

Just about every year since the mid-90s Internet boom we hear that fuel cells will be available Real Soon Now. They're a really cool idea, you obviously want them, and I hear that they're packaging them with a free copy of Duke Nukem Forever....

and what happens when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14899776)

You run out of fuel? DO you just plug it in to recharge? Must you run off to the nearest filling station?

Oh please. No thanks.

what I really want (1)

sentientbrendan (316150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899792)

Is a gasoline powered laptop. Now there's something I can play quake on!

China Syndrome in miniature (2, Funny)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 8 years ago | (#14899820)

How much energy can we pack into a small package before we need to start treating it like thermite? If we're putting many watt-hours into a cartridge and it malfunctions, could it, for example, end up melting its way through the cabin floor and skin (and the fuel lines) of an aircraft?
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>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...