Does Your PDA Have Gas? If It Did, You Wouldn’t Need Batteries
Full cells are a hot topic when it comes to preserving the Earth. But they’re not just for ecological activists. Hitachi is promising a fuel cell powered PDA by 2005.
Hitachi will be working with Tokai to produce tiny fuel cells to replace batteries in their Japanese PDA line. If they can figure out what to do with the water that is a by-product of fuel cells, this could be a huge development for mobile gadget geeks. From News.com:
Hitachi and Tokai said they have created a prototype cartridge about the size of an AA battery that holds 50 cubic centimeters of methanol at a 20 percent concentration. It could power a PDA for six to eight hours, the companies said. They are planning to raise the concentration to 30 percent by the time mass production begins, which would increase cell life.
What’s the big deal?
While it’s not likely that fuel cells will replace all batteries any time soon, the market it growing at an exponential pace. The fuel cell essentially converts hydrogen or methanol, combined with oxygen into energy, water and heat. Once the fuel supply runs out, you simply refill or replace the fuel source. The end result is clean energy that is easy to re-use. While the most impact might be felt on applying fuel cells to cars and other situations where there are high levels of exhaust, mobile devices certainly have a role. Fuel cells promise much longer lives than batteries and can be easily refilled with a liquid or gas fuel. While I’m not sure everyone will want to carry around a container of fuel, the technology may become so prevalent that you’ll be able to pick it up at your local corner store.
This is certainly an interesting development to watch and will become a part of our lives at some point. I for one, would be happy to ditch my various power cords, but am scared to hink about the elephant-sized container I would need to power my Clie UX50 for a week