Fuel Cell Laptops

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,654
10,976
FoxNews reports that NEC has revealed a prototype fuel-cell based Laptop computer that will go on sale next year -- with big plans in the near future

NEC initially plans to introduce a computer with a fuel-cell system able to run for five consecutive hours on a single cartridge of methanol fuel, but also plans to make a PC within two years that can run continuously for as long as 40 hours.
Apple is said to be actively pursuing fuel cell technology for their Powerbook line.
 

Mudbug

Administrator emeritus
Jun 28, 2002
3,846
1
North Central Colorado
What they fail to mention is that the fuel cell will have to be pulled along behind the user on a 50"x95" trailer in order to support the weight and bulk of the cell, along with 30 feet of rubber tubing in order to route the ensuing water away.

I'll believe it when I see it.
 

dabirdwell

macrumors 6502
Sep 26, 2002
449
16
Oklahoma
Fuel cell tablet?


Also, somebody just figured out how to make this work without platinum, as a matter of fact I think it can be done with biomass waste.
 

agreenster

macrumors 68000
Dec 6, 2001
1,892
2
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Originally posted by Mudbug
What they fail to mention is that the fuel cell will have to be pulled along behind the user on a 50"x95" trailer in order to support the weight and bulk of the cell, along with 30 feet of rubber tubing in order to route the ensuing water away.

I'll believe it when I see it.
Thats not true. Waste fill be in the form os a non-polutant gas. The refillers will probably be about the size of a CO2 canister.

Do you really think all these companies would be stupid enough to consider switching to fuel cell if it wouldn't fit the current form factor for most laptops?

You must be eating weedies for breakfast.
 

Pete_Hoover

macrumors regular
Apr 29, 2003
145
0
I think this is really cool. Fuel cells are the future, and I am glad to see some companies are making an impact on the notebook market with these new batteries. I cant wait until they come out in a year to see some reivews.
 

cb911

macrumors 601
Mar 12, 2002
4,122
3
BrisVegas, Australia
it can be done with biomass waste? could this be a combining of a fuel cell powered laptop and the iLoo?:p :D

but seriously that's some cool tech. hopefully NEC getting fuel cell powered computers out there will push Apple to have them done.

seeing that the next PowerBooks will probably have a G4, we might see the first G5 PowerBooks with fuel cells. and remember the rumors that Apple will be using OLED technology some time in 2004? i think that was talking about the iPods, but considering that the G5 PowerBooks, like the G5 PowerMacs will have a completely different look... it could be possible that Apple is holding off the G5 PowerBook release so that they can release it with an OLED screen and fuel cell power source. using those technologies would really make sure that the G5 PowerBooks were something completely different.
 

Wonder Boy

macrumors 6502a
Feb 18, 2003
833
0
South Windsor, CT
So wait, 2004 is the year of the laptop? Apple better get there clocks fixed. 2 new laptops without any updates (so far) hardly qualifies for the year of the laptop.
 

MacVault

macrumors 65816
Jun 10, 2002
1,144
59
Planet Earth
A five-hour run time doesn't seem very revolutionary.?.? Also, methanol doesn't seem as prevalent as a power outlet. How would this issue be addressed? Will we have gas stations for laptops on every street corner? :D ??????????
 

iJon

macrumors 604
Feb 7, 2002
6,566
152
damn 40 hours, that is a hell of a long time, i know i would like it because i hate having to plug in my adapter.

iJon
 

Pete_Hoover

macrumors regular
Apr 29, 2003
145
0
Originally posted by Wonder Boy
So wait, 2004 is the year of the laptop? Apple better get there clocks fixed. 2 new laptops without any updates (so far) hardly qualifies for the year of the laptop.
Ya. I want to see some updates. Hopefully they will update them in JUly. I am tired of waiting, and you are right. This is hardly the year of the notebook.
 

RogueWarrior65

macrumors regular
Jun 30, 2003
230
113
Redondo Beach, CA
Neat...but is it practical?

One HUGE issue in my book will be where you can't use this damn thing. Airlines won't let you on a plane with a pair of friggin' nail clippers (after all, you might threaten to cut off the crew's cuticles). Do you think they're gonna let you on the plane with containers of methanol?
 

psxndc

macrumors regular
May 30, 2002
216
0
Re: Neat...but is it practical?

Originally posted by RogueWarrior65
Do you think they're gonna let you on the plane with containers of methanol?
They let you on now with a Zippo lighter. No joke, just flew 2 weeks ago. They even pulled it out of my bag to make sure it was a real one.

-p
 

iJon

macrumors 604
Feb 7, 2002
6,566
152
Re: Neat...but is it practical?

Originally posted by RogueWarrior65
One HUGE issue in my book will be where you can't use this damn thing. Airlines won't let you on a plane with a pair of friggin' nail clippers (after all, you might threaten to cut off the crew's cuticles). Do you think they're gonna let you on the plane with containers of methanol?
haha, no kidding. im excited about my trip to dallas soon. i cant till they ask me about my gun scope, i mean my isight.

iJon
 

Windowlicker

macrumors 6502a
Feb 17, 2003
713
1
Finland
I don't know too much about this technology, but it doesn't sound too user friendly :p

I would much rather have an power adapter than a bottle of methanol on me..

40 hours sounds quite promising though.
 

r8ix

macrumors newbie
May 29, 2002
12
0
Outer Siberia
Fuel cells

They're really not that practical for laptops. You'd have to carry refills around with you, and you wouldn't be allowed to fly with it on an airplane. Methanol is considered a hazardous material. Also Currently, 2 hours of laptop use costs <$.015 for the electricity, even for the 17" PB. How much will replacement cartridges cost? Even for the "40 hour desktop", average electricity will run from $.50 to $2.00, depending on what all you have hooked up. Fuel cells are great, but I can't see them being effective for this purpose.

I will ask my friend, who runs the National Fuel Cell Research Center, what he thinks of this and report back...
 

ouketii

macrumors regular
Mar 6, 2003
103
0
you could plug it in an electrical outlet and run it w/o batteries, obviously, but i wonder if you can recharge methanol at all.... it'd be nice to be sitting in class, and see someone's computer spontaneously combust ecause they tried to plug it in ; )
 

ouketii

macrumors regular
Mar 6, 2003
103
0
Re: Fuel cells

Originally posted by r8ix
They're really not that practical for laptops. You'd have to carry refills around with you, and you wouldn't be allowed to fly with it on an airplane. Methanol is considered a hazardous material. Also Currently, 2 hours of laptop use costs <$.015 for the electricity, even for the 17" PB. How much will replacement cartridges cost? Even for the "40 hour desktop", average electricity will run from $.50 to $2.00, depending on what all you have hooked up. Fuel cells are great, but I can't see them being effective for this purpose.

I will ask my friend, who runs the National Fuel Cell Research Center, what he thinks of this and report back...
...national fel cell research center...how convienient ;)
 

r8ix

macrumors newbie
May 29, 2002
12
0
Outer Siberia
Since the NEC laptop is supposed to run 5 hours (like the iBook...), the comparable cost for electricity would be about $.03, which is the price the cartridges would have to compete with to be competitive.
 

Freg3000

macrumors 68000
Sep 22, 2002
1,914
0
New York
Like many have pointed out, I have my doubts. But it would be cool. It is also interesting how these two fuel cell stories came out so closely together.
 

aub32

macrumors newbie
Jun 2, 2003
15
0
BOOM

Well, besides the fact that the word fuel closely relates to the word FIRE, it also tells me that there may be a coincidence in not being allowed onto a 767 with a tank of 93 octane.

Or is it just me...
 

jettredmont

macrumors 68030
Jul 25, 2002
2,714
307
Originally posted by r8ix
Since the NEC laptop is supposed to run 5 hours (like the iBook...), the comparable cost for electricity would be about $.03, which is the price the cartridges would have to compete with to be competitive.
Huh?

Fuel cells are for cost- and weight-effective battery life, not AC power. The are not meant to compete with your home AC outlet! They are meant to compete with the ten pounds of Li-Ion batteries you'd have to lug around to get a PC laptop to run for 40 hours!

And, yes, carrying a zippo-sized ampule of Methanol (costing maybe 50 cents) makes a whole lot more sense to me than recharging a second battery (always a wonderful joy) and carrying that extra battery around, which has about ten times the size and weight of the fuel-cell canister.

It's amazing the amount of misinformation here. I mean, for one thing, at least one airline has already OK'd the use of fuel cells (you'll have to dig through articles from about six months back i think to find info on that). Fuel cell canisters are incredibly tiny (fuel cell power generators aren't so tiny, which is one reason why they're not in widespread use yet, but the canisters themselves - the thing that holds the liquid - is quite small!).
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.