MTI claims breakthrough for portable fuel cells

MTI MicroFuel Cells has developed a simpler fuel cell architecture for portable devices:
Its DMFC design structure is based on materials that permit a direct feed of methanol, bypassing the need for miniature pumps or bulky storage tanks. That makes it possible to build a smaller, lighter fuel cell that is easier to manufacture, while maintaining a higher concentration of methanol, according to the company.
MTI claims its fuel cells offer three to ten times the runtime of lithium ion batteries, but don't expect one in your cell phone or laptop anytime soon. Micro fuel cells aren't expected to migrate to consumer products until a widespread fuel refill infrastructure exists. MTI is working with Gillette/Duracell to distribute fuel refills, but the company doesn't see consumer applications taking off until 2006 at the earliest. In the meantime, MTI will concentrate on industrial and military markets.
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