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Old Jun 26, 2003, 01:34 AM   #1
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Apple Pursuing Fuel Cell Tech for PowerBooks?

MacEdition posts an interesting update... reporting that Apple is actively pursuing Fuel Cell technology to power future PowerBooks:

Quote:

They report that Apple has been feverishly seeking out fuel-cell companies that might accept their investment dollars and afford it a competitive advantage in this up-and-coming market.
MacEdition, however, also reports that Intel is seeking out the same companies -- and trying to lock Apple out with attempts to gain exclusive agreements. Apple appears to be so interested, that the report indicates they are willing to build future PowerBooks around Fuel Cell designs rather than vice-versa.

Related Info:

What is a Fuel Cell?
Space-age computer power
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 01:37 AM   #2
acj
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Not new

This isn't new. I've seen some other interesting technologies that may be used in notebooks. One is a nano-sized generator that runs off a cartridge of butaine. It would produce less emmisions than a person, so ti would be safe on an airplane (minus the compressed butane part!). Recharges would be instant. I doubt either company will lock out the other, regardless of who's first.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 01:38 AM   #3
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sounds cool. must be good stuff if Apple will change the PowerBooks to meet the fuel cell requirements. i'll have to read up on this...
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 01:42 AM   #4
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did you see the diagram? this thing doesnt need recharging. it takes in the AIR and generates heat water and electricity. this by FAR wipes the floor with a butane cartridge. this is just as wonderful as solid state devices. fuel cells are incredible.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 01:47 AM   #5
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powerbook gas stations anybody?

this is really cool stuff, but wat i dont get, is whats actually providing the power here; what is the base raw material here? obiously you cant plug this baby into the wall to power it... so are we going to have to "fill up" our fuel cell powered laptops every time the battery is depleted? seems kinda goofy to me!

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally posted by beatle888
did you see the diagram? this thing doesnt need recharging. it takes in the AIR and generates heat water and electricity. this by FAR wipes the floor with a butane cartridge. this is just as wonderful as solid state devices. fuel cells are incredible.
actually you need hydrogen to power this, not just air. i knew this when i posted this reply, but im just wondering where/how/what form we'd get the hydrogen in.

Last edited by Xero; Jun 26, 2003 at 01:50 AM.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 01:56 AM   #6
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i didn't read the article, nor do i know anything about fuel cells, but couldn't you get the hydrogen from bringing in the air and seperating the hydrogen from the oxygen (from H2O, which air has plenty of)?
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 01:57 AM   #7
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just powerbooks?

why would this be limited to powerbooks? Seems like a larger unit could power a desktop - a smaller one an iPod.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 02:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by bertagert
i didn't read the article, nor do i know anything about fuel cells, but couldn't you get the hydrogen from bringing in the air and seperating the hydrogen from the oxygen (from H2O, which air has plenty of)?
It takes energy to separate the Hydrogen from the Oxygen - defeating the purpose...

The info about fuel cells is from 2000 - I wonder how far the tech has come?
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 02:04 AM   #9
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would be great if Apple could own some of the fundamental intellectual property on these fuel cells - would certainly help shut out competitors!!!
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 02:09 AM   #10
evolu
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some links

sorry for the triple post!

Here's some interesting reading on the tech in general...

http://www.wired.com/news/technology...,58436,00.html

and for laptops specifically...

http://www.smartfuelcell.de/en/presse/c030310.html
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 02:10 AM   #11
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Re: just powerbooks?

Quote:
Originally posted by evolu
why would this be limited to powerbooks? Seems like a larger unit could power a desktop - a smaller one an iPod.
Most desktops can be plugged into a wall

It would be great when fuel cells are so competitive everything can go "off the grid", but it will still be a while.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 02:14 AM   #12
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one of the laws of thermal dynamics states that you can not create or destroy matter or engery; however, you can change it. My question is, because of this, where would the by product go? There has to be some form of waste, and if there is, then it will probably be hydrogen, which too much of in the atmosphere would cause the ozone to be depleted. So it would actually be harmful to the environment to use your computer, and that's not what Al Gore would endorse now is it?
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 02:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by bertagert
i didn't read the article, nor do i know anything about fuel cells, but couldn't you get the hydrogen from bringing in the air and seperating the hydrogen from the oxygen (from H2O, which air has plenty of)?
you realize that would require power?

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Old Jun 26, 2003, 02:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by mgargan1
My question is, because of this, where would the by product go? There has to be some form of waste, and if there is, then it will probably be hydrogen, it?
waste is water...

arn
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 02:55 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by arn
waste is water...

arn
I just want to add to this a bit. A fuel cell brings in Air for Oxygen and then through a reaction very similar to a catalytic reaction it combines the hydrogen with the oxygen and in the process a stray electron is released creating electricity. Once the Hydrogen and Oxygen is combined you get H2O/water. There is not wasted hydrogen since the only way for Hydrogen to escape is by combining with the Oxygen.


The only way Hydrogen could leak into the atmosphere would be at the refueling stations and really there is no reason for leakage there the equipment for moving high pressure gas can easily build in such a way that there is no waste. Also the people saying the hydrogen will hurt the Ozone from what I have seen don't really know what they are talking about. Hydrogen is the lightest element and gas known to man. An excess buildup of hydrogen in the atmosphere can only displace the Ozone not break it down but it won't even do that since it is so light that an excess build up will actually push to highest reaches of the atmosphere where it is actually blown off by solar winds.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 03:13 AM   #16
AhmedFaisal
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Since those fuel cells are powered with ethanol....

.... it means you got "Schnaps to go" with your Powerbook, boys *grins*
Cheers,

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Old Jun 26, 2003, 03:43 AM   #17
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How did this even make it to the front page?

Ok fuel cells sound great, but lets be real folks. We are talking about at least five years down the road, if not more. This is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo second page news. Blast me if you want to, but just call me a REALIST, this is not happening ANY time soon

Have a great day!!!!!
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 03:55 AM   #18
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Re: Since those fuel cells are powered with ethanol....

Quote:
Originally posted by AhmedFaisal
.... it means you got "Schnaps to go" with your Powerbook, boys *grins*
Cheers,

Ahmed
"Whats that you've got powering your 22 inch PowerBook?"

"Lagavulin 16 year, nothing but the good stuff for my baby"

Actually most fuel cells are powered by Methanol. Which you really don't want to drink. Of course, the "cure" for methanol poisoning is to drink ethanol. now THAT'S a prescription i'd like to see more doctors hand out...

Methanol also makes you go blind (right before it kills you) which I suppose is a pretty extreme way to "drink 'em pretty."

Seriously though. Fuel cells are great until you run out of fuel. I have yet to see a convincing argument about why this is anything but a niche product. I can "refill" my battery from one of hundreds of millions of electrical outlets. Fuel cells may last longer, and it would take less time to "fill up" than it would to charge... but do you really want to have to keep a supply of fuel handy?

Running out of methanol might lead to huge headaches, which would in turn require ethanol...
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 04:03 AM   #19
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Man, some people must have really skipped Chemistry!

There is nearly no Hydrogen in the atmosphere, mainly because its so reactive, nearly all of it has reacted with oxygen to form H20, as in water. Thats why we have so large oceans. Also, water would be the waste product and that could be split into Hydrogen and Water again.

The problem with fuel cell technology is that H20 takes lots of energy to split and the only way it can be done which doesnt damage the environment is at wind farms or sources of renewable energy. If you use coal power stations to split the compound, it will damage the environment. So the technology is there, just not the infrastructure to produce hydrogen cleanly, safely and efficiently. Until the US is 20% renewable, dont expect fuel cell cars or laptops. The way the US is going right now, think 2050.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 04:09 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by bertagert
i didn't read the article, nor do i know anything about fuel cells, but couldn't you get the hydrogen from bringing in the air and seperating the hydrogen from the oxygen (from H2O, which air has plenty of)?
you didn't read the article, you don't know anything about fuel cells, and obviously you don't know basic science. H20 is water buddy, not Oxygen, and air does not have much water in it.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 04:22 AM   #21
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I don't think fuel cells will really be a good idea in laptops, I expect to hear stories of people blowing up their powerbooks. Fuel cells are a good idea for cars, but I don't think they will work in laptops.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 05:09 AM   #22
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Re: Apple Pursuing Fuel Cell Tech for PowerBooks?

Quote:
Originally posted by Macrumors
MacEdition, however, also reports that Intel is seeking out the same companies -- and trying to lock Apple out with attempts to gain exclusive agreements.
This doesn't make any sense to me. Why would Intel be seeking out these battery manufacturers? Intel is a chip maker not a laptop maker. Sure if Apple gets the first fuel cell laptop out it would probably be a great success reducing demand for Intel's centrino platform, but seriously Apple would need to get a huge increase in market share (say 20-30% laptop mktshare) for Intel to be so worried as to try and stop Apple's access to fuel cells.
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 05:16 AM   #23
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Re: Re: Apple Pursuing Fuel Cell Tech for PowerBooks?

Quote:
Originally posted by Zaid
This doesn't make any sense to me. Why would Intel be seeking out these battery manufacturers? Intel is a chip maker not a laptop maker. Sure if Apple gets the first fuel cell laptop out it would probably be a great success reducing demand for Intel's centrino platform, but seriously Apple would need to get a huge increase in market share (say 20-30% laptop mktshare) for Intel to be so worried as to try and stop Apple's access to fuel cells.
the striking thing is that they are supposedly locking apple out--trying to. the question is why, but it's mote about them being a silicon company than them competing with apple. wouldn't you think that Dell or HP or someone would be the ones going after this? how much of the laptop does intel actually make?
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 05:46 AM   #24
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Waste is water?!

Ah, so, if the waste of a fuel cell is water, what does that mean for a laptop? That it'd leak all over my lap as I use it? Or would I have to attach a bag to it and take my laptop out once in a while so it could take a leak?
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Old Jun 26, 2003, 05:47 AM   #25
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Re: Re: Re: Apple Pursuing Fuel Cell Tech for PowerBooks?

Quote:
Originally posted by Shadowfax
the striking thing is that they are supposedly locking apple out--trying to. the question is why, but it's mote about them being a silicon company than them competing with apple. wouldn't you think that Dell or HP or someone would be the ones going after this? how much of the laptop does intel actually make?
The only parts of the laptop Intel does not make is the case and screen. So it is posible Intel want to move to power sources since it is still electronics.
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