Toshiba has announced the development of two fuel cell units that promise to solve the problem of short battery life for Flash- and hard disc-based MP3 players.
The electronics giant has demonstrated test batteries integrated into MP3 players using its so-called 'pumpless' fuel system.
Output power of 100mw and 300mw is generated for use with a Flash memory-based digital audio player and an HDD-based digital audio player, respectively.
The 100mw unit is 23 x 75 x 10mm and can power the player for approximately 35 hours on a single 3.5ml charge of highly concentrated methanol, the fuel that drives the electricity-producing chemical reaction in the fuel cell.
The 300mw unit is 60 x 75 x 10mm and delivers enough power to keep an HDD-based audio player running for approximately 60 hours on a single 10ml charge.
But whether the idea of charging your MP3 by adding methanol as if it were a lighter catches on, remains to be seen.
The cells store 99.5 per cent pure methanol before diluting it to 10 per cent to produce power. The reaction chamber has two zones, one for methanol and the other for air.
The methanol reacts with water in the presence of a catalyst to produce hydrogen ions and electrons which pass through the membrane to react with the oxygen to form water.
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