While competitors worldwide are still developing or testing fuel cells solutions for portable IT devices, Antig Technology has enabled a client--Asia Vital Component--to produce a standalone Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DFMC) charger within nine months.
The product was demonstrated at CeBIT in Germany in March 2006. Antig also scored at the same exhibition when it showcased the world's first media-bay-size DMFC solution for laptops.
A fuel cell generates electricity by harnessing the chemical energy of hydrogen and oxygen. DMFC is the most commonly used fuel cell technology.
Daniel Chan, Antig's acting financial officer, said fuel cell industry players have been hampered by huge technology and production costs when trying to commercialise fuel cell solutions. In contrast, Antig uses the printed circuit board (PCB)-like process, which enables the company to overcome those barriers and provide engineers a flexible platform to roll out applications, he added.
Antig's System-on-Cell, Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (SoC DMFC) module is the first of its kind in the world. It is targeted at makers of IT products such as consumer electronics, mobile phones, personal digital assistants, laptops and e-wheel chairs. While Antig's clients are using the Soc DMFC module mainly for handset chargers, the company foresees the focus shifting to in-built solutions from 2007.
In addition, Antig provides DMFC system simulators and testing machines to business partners and customers, to help them speed their time to market.
Clients can also gain from lower DMFC system costs. Fuel cell stacks--cell groups that are linked to increase output--are usually made of graphite or metal mesh and can account for 60 to 80 percent of the costs of a DMFC system. Antig's solution costs between 60 percent and 90 percent less when used to build stacks as it is made of PCB-like material, said Chan.
Monthly work groups and quarterly workshops that the company organizes enable participants--including clients, original equipment manufacturers, component makers and research institutes from Taiwan, the US, Japan and Europe--to define specifications of the DMFC power pack system. In this way, Antig and its component makers can cater to the IT product makers’ need for quick adoption rate and lower costs.
As of August 2006, Antig has filed more than 340 patents globally, of which more than 60 were granted in Taiwan, 19 in China, 13 in Japan and five in Germany. To save costs, Antig has picked key patents, combined them and cross-filed them in Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, France, the UK, the US and Canada. Included in the patent coverage are DMFC module core concepts, control and algorithms, system technologies, testing and logistics.