Portable Methanol Fuel Cell
I have friends that are working on fuel-cell technology, and they are excited at the releases currently going on. One of them is being released by UltraCell, and even better it is a portable system.
This new technology has already been developed by UltraCell as a prototype for the military. This original system, the XX90, was designed for up to 45 watts of continuous power. Subsequently, the U.S. Army’s Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) awarded UltraCell a contract to accelerate its development of a more compact portable system to run at 25 watts. This new power source is being developed for commercial use as the UltraCell25 and will be available in 2006 for professional, industrial and mobile computing applications. Its name for the military will be the XX25.
UltraCell’s micro reformer technology is designed to work in a user-friendly package that, with the push of a power button, self starts and feeds power as needed. The fuel canisters can be instantly “hot swapped,” as needed, to provide continuous power in any remote situation. The system can even support batteries by serving as a portable recharging power supply.
I don’t think it will be too many more years until Fuel Cell technology becomes much more main stream. The only real downside I see is that the technology is dependant on other power sources that use our natural resources.