Tokyo (Japan) – On Thursday, Toshiba confirmed in Tokyo that it would meet an earlier promise and launch a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) battery charger before March’s end. The company also has plans to commercialize DMFC packs for both cell phones and personal computers sometime later this year.
DMFCs deliver power continuously, and can be completely replenished in a matter of seconds just by adding a new methanol cartridge. They use a chemical process to produce electricity via a reaction between methanol, water and air. The byproducts are small amounts of carbon dioxide and water vapor. This makes DMFCs a greener energy source than traditional batteries which contain strong chemicals internally, and must be recharged using a wall charger (which is typically connected to a coal fire someplace providing the power through steam turbines).
Toshiba demonstrated a prototype of a fuel-cell charged cell phone at the Ceatec show in Japan this past September. Since then, the product has been on the down-low, however, and the only talk about fuel cells came recently at CES – and even then it was discussion about prototypes and no true product speculations.
Many companies have had fuel cells and fuel cell products in the works for a few years now, and the promise has always been there. However, this time it would seem it actually could be the real deal.
Toshiba will not reveal any other details about the product, and more than likely it would be a dedicated model for a specific product, or possibly it would be released as a general battery charger.