Biofuel cell powered by booze


— 4:37 PM on April 2, 2003

Wired is running an interesting story on experimental biofuel cells that run on alcohol. The fuel cells are being developed for mobile electronics devices like cell phones, and shouldn't require any additional infrastructure to handle refueling:

"You can use any alcohol. You will be able to pour it straight out of the bottle and into your battery," said team member Nick Akers, a graduate student. "We have run it on various types. It didn't like carbonated beer and doesn't seem fond of wine, but any other works fine."
Those behind the battery speculate that the finished product will be able to power a cell phone for up to a month with just a few drops of alcohol, but it looks like the technology is at least a couple of years from store shelves.

While the experimental battery technology may never powerful enough to meet a laptop's wattage requirements, it's exciting to see a fuel cell powered by something as widely available and relatively non-volatile as alcohol. Hydrogen-powered fuel cells look promising for portable devices, too, but refueling those batteries won't be quite as easy as making a trip to the liquor cabinet.

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