Fuel cells powered by hydrogen rather than methanol are being examined for potential use by a number of electronic technology companies, due to its higher levels of energy density, according to a leading Japanese company.
Capable of delivering more power relative to size, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone's (NTT) prototype hydrogen fuel cell has an energy density of 200 milliwatts per square centimetre and could provide around 9 hours of talk-time for a 3G phone.
In contrast, fuel cells for laptop computers have an energy density of about 70 milliwatts per square centimetre and lithium ion batteries used in modern cell phones are about 160 milliwatts per square centimetre - according to NTT.
Start-up Medis Technologies says it has a fuel cell that doesn't face the same regulatory or standardization problems. The company has developed a disposable alkaline-based fuel cell that it says is efficient, safe and inexpensive.