Motorola has developed a miniature fuel cell for powering consumer electronic devices that is ten times more powerful than traditional batteries.
The fuel cells measure just one inch square and less than an inch in thickness and are powered by liquid methanol. Scientists at Motorola Labs claimed that the cells could power a mobile phone for over a month without recharging.
"New features for portable electronic equipment requires more power and longer operating life," stated Bill Ooms, director of Motorola's material, device and energy research. "These cells have an amazing ability to produce energy for longer periods of time and weighing less than conventional batteries."
The reservoir of methanol in the fuel cells combines with oxygen in the air to produce electricity. To avoid the problems of the low voltage output of fuel cells, Motorola has come up with circuitry that converts it to a higher voltage capable of powering portable electronic devices.
Motorola believes that the methanol needed to run consumer devices would be packaged in small cartridges to replace traditional batteries. It has formed a research team to develop the new technology and push it into the market.