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Sweet: a mobile, fuel-cell-powered charger

A company based in Albany, New York, this week unveiled a super high-tech, clean-tech gadget that’s guaranteed to drive on-the-go geeks wild: a portable, off-the-grid electronic device charger that’s powered by a methanol-based fuel cell.

MTI MicroFuel Cells says its Mobion charger can provide up to 25 watt-hours of power to mobile phones, digital cameras, portable media players and other devices without the need to plug a conventional charger into an electrical outlet. That’s enough to fully charge a mobile phone more than 10 times or play 10,000 songs on an MP3 player, the company says.

And what to do when the charger runs out of juice? Pop out the depleted fuel cartridge and plug in a new one.

“On average, in the US, mobile professionals carry 3.4 portable electronic devices with them, and are now buying a universal charger to conveniently recharge all their device batteries.” said Peng Lim, chairman and CEO of MTI. The Mobion charger, he continued, “allows consumers to charge their devices anytime, anywhere by eliminating the need to plug their devices or Mobion charger into a wall outlet and wait for a recharge … ”

MTI Micro plans to have the Mobion charger on the market by the end of next year.

While Gizmodo quails at the idea of toting around a bag full of liquid methane cartridges (though that might provide a powerful incentive to, say, quit smoking!), MTI Micro says not to worry: “Like other alcohols, methanol is flammable, however, small volumes of methanol packaged in sealed plastic containers, present little, if any danger to potential users in portable power applications. Approved fuel cartridges may be transported anywhere in the world via air-freight, making methanol the ideal fuel choice for portable fuel cells.”

1 Comment

  • Duncan
    Posted December 11, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Like many others, i have the PDA, MP3 player and camera in my bag when travelling. I look forward to not hunting battery suppliers and wall sockets so frequently on holidays and business trips. As for methanol fuel, it is not the most ideal fuel i guess but if the aviation industry and the health and safety people have certified it, then i have a level of faith, as they tend to be thorough to the point of fanatical. I came across another company that has a fuel cell for consumer electronics which is powered on ethanol. This sounds like it might have some advantages from a safety and environmental perspective. It also does not have the platinum catalysts in it which evidently will make it cheaper than methanol fuelled Fuel Cells.
    See here – http://www.fuelcellmarkets.com/ndc_nanomaterials_discovery_corporation/products_and_services/3,1,6899,17,27105.html
    I guess we are seeing the next generation battery. Look forward to it.

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