NTT Releases Prototype Fuel Cell Mobile Phone

February 22, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT, Japan) has developed a PEM fuel cell that uses hydrogen gas, and is small enough to directly fit in a mobile phone. Under tests using a production-model mobile phone, the prototype PEMs successfully powered startup and signal reception/transmission (i.e., video phone, voice calls and "i-mode" Internet services). In conjunction with this development, NTT also developed a device for automatically topping up the micro PEMs with hydrogen.

The direct hydrogen PEM that has been developed at NTT attains a high-output power compatible with that of a lithium-ion battery without producing CO2 during power generation. Also due to the unification of the power-generation unit and the hydrogen-storage alloy tank, and simplification of the electrical circuitry, the unit has a compact size (external dimensions of 42 mm x 80 mm x 13 mm; weight of 104 g), and is said to enable a talk time of up to nine hours. It is thought that by changing the surface area of the PEM power generation unit, it can be applied to a range of mobile electronic devices like video cameras, digital cameras, PDAs and notebook PCs.