Advertisment

Run your cellphone on gas

author-image
DQW Bureau
New Update





Advertisment

Today you wouldn't dream about stepping out without your cellphone and its charger, for nothing could be worse than your cellphone dying on you. However, the frantic hunts for power connections may soon be a thing of the past, as gas-based fuel cells leave the drawing boards and become commercially available. Companies like Motorola, NEC, and Sony are working on miniaturizing devices that use methane gas as the basic ingredient. This is one of the most easily available gases, and is environment friendly too.

Motorola's fuel cell is 2" x 4" and is 0.5" thick, which makes it a little larger than current cellphone batteries. Methane is stored inside the cell, and a chemical reaction releases oxygen, heat, and electricity. This electricity can be used to charge cellphones directly, or to charge a battery that charges your cellphone. Researchers at Motorola have been able to generate 100 m W of power from this cell.





Advertisment

NEC's device uses nanohorns, a special type of carbon nanotube so called because of its horn-like shape, as the electrode in the fuel cell. Processes in the cell convert the chemical energy of a hydrogen-oxygen reaction into electrical energy. Carbon nanohorns have fine platinum particles on their surface, which act as catalysts in this reaction. These catalysts help in considerably improving the performance of the cell.

A similar effort is on at a company called Manhattan Scientific. They are working on a cell that uses oxygen from the air and hydrogen or methanol in the cell to continuously charge a cellphone. The technology is expected to be able to charge a cellphone for up to four months in standby mode, using seven ounces of methanol to do this.

What still needs to be developed is a way of recharging these fuel cells, which at present can be done by injecting fresh methanol once the cell's stock is over.

Pragya Madan

Source: www.pcquest.com

Advertisment