Yuasa Develops Mini Renewable Fuel Cell

January 01, 2002 by Jeff Shepard

Yuasa Corp. (Osaka, Japan) has developed a mini fuel cell powered by renewable fuels, which the company intends to commercialize in 2003. Yuasa claims the fuel cell system is a safe, compact power source powered directly from methyl alcohol instead of extracting hydrogen from methanol, natural gas or gasoline.

The system's power-generation capacity is half that of conventional fuel cells, and officials say it will not be suitable for vehicles, but will serve as a power source for outdoor activities and emergencies. The direct methanol fuel cell uses a water solution of methanol to create a chemical reaction with oxygen, making it safer to handle than other fuel cells.

The company has prototyped two systems with maximum power outputs of 100W and 300W. Both can supply electric power for 24 hours on 1 liter of methanol, costing $0.35, but the 100W system weighs 25kg. Yuasa aims to commercialize products based on the technology after two years.