Hitachi to Power PDAs with Fuel Cells by 2005

August 17, 2004 by Jeff Shepard

Hitachi Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) reported that it is teaming up with disposable-lighter maker Tokai to produce commercial fuel cells for hand-held computers in 2005. Several companies are investigating fuel cells as an alternative to existing nickel-cadmium batteries and lithium-ion batteries, which will inevitably hit a barrier when portable devices become more power-hungry. Fuel cells could create a long-lasting and cheap power source in a small package.

Hitachi and Tokai said that they have created a prototype cartridge about the size of an AA battery that holds 50 cm³ of methanol at a 20% concentration, and could power a PDA for six to eight hours. The companies are planning to raise the concentration to 30% by the time mass production begins, meaning longer cell life.