Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. unveiled this week new fuel cell prototypes for a range of applications that could be commercialized as early as next year.
The prototypes on display at Ceatec Japan 2004 in Chiba show that fuel cells could become a widely adopted supplementary power source to conventional lithium ion batteries, and could start replacing them in some applications after 2007, according to developers.
As well as showing its prototype fuel cell for PDAs (personal digital assistants) that it announced last December, Hitachi also unveiled a prototype laptop PC fuel cell and a fuel cell-based battery recharger for mobile phones, both of which will be available in 2006, according to the company.
In addition, Hitachi will make a lithium ion battery replacement fuel cell that it will put on sale in 2007, Mitsugu Nakabaru, senior engineer of Hitachi's fuel cell promotion and development group, said in an interview on Wednesday. All of the prototypes use direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) technology.
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