IBM, Sanyo work on fuel cell ThinkPad
IBM and Sanyo have joined forces to develop a fuel cell to power IBM's ThinkPad notebooks. The fuel cell system, which is expected to be available as early as 2007, is a hybrid design that combines a standard lithium ion battery with a methanol fuel cell.
Arimasa Naito, an IBM fellow leading ThinkPad development at IBM's PC research and development facilities in Yamato, Japan, said. "There are still a lot of challenges to use a fuel cell with a notebook PC, such as durability, compactness and safety measures. The Yamato team will work with Sanyo to develop a fuel cell system which is not a mere replacement of present battery packs," he said.
The current prototype weighs 2.2 kilograms for the battery and fuel cell alone, which isn't exactly viable for today's thin and light notebooks. However, the idea that fuel cells should complement rather than replace traditional notebook batteries is an interesting one.