Most tech gurus can’t wait for the day when fuel cells are available to replace the batteries in the gadgets and electronics we carry around. With today's batteries runtimes measured in hours, the fuel cells of tomorrow promise to measure runtime in days.
One of the firms putting lots of research and money into fuel cell development is Samsung. Samsung has announced a new Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) set to release in 2010 for use by the military. The DFMC promises to deliver 1,800 watt-hours of power without needing a plug or rechargeable batteries. The device weighs 3.5 kilograms and should be able to power a soldier’s gear in the field for three days.
To power the same military gear with batteries for three days would require ten kilograms of traditional batteries. Samsung reports that the new fuel cell has up to an eight times improvement in durability compared to earlier fuel cells and that fuel efficiency is improved by 54% with the new cell.
The fuel cell was developed in the U.S. according to Samsung and is currently undergoing trials with the U.S. Army Communication Electronics Research and Development Engineering Center. After the field tests and certifications are complete, Samsung says that the fuel cell is set for delivery in 2010.
Fuel cells haven’t really hit the consumer market in a big way yet. The only fuel cell that consumers can get today is the Medis fuel cell charger that can be used to power a cell phone for about 24 hours.