Samsung has joined with specialist firm MTI MicroFuel Cells to develop mobile phones and devices powered by fuel cell technology – an alternative to traditional rechargeable batteries.
Fuel cells produce electricity from hydrogen-rich fuels, such as gasoline, natural gas, propane or methanol, and oxygen. They have an energy density several times that of a typical lithium-ion battery.
Fuel cells can also continuously replenish their fuel and oxygen supplies from external sources, unlike batteries, which are restricted to a limited internal energy storage capacity.
MTI Micro will help develop fuel cell prototypes for Samsung´s mobile phones, using its Mobion direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) technology.
The fuel cells are expected to give mobile devices longer running times and allow instant recharging. The two companies believe the new technology will enable new features to be developed for future mobile phones, unconstrained by traditional battery power sources.
Samsung Electronics vice-president YoungWoo Lee said: “By allying with MTI Micro, Samsung is empowered to go beyond the established boundaries of what is currently possible with mobile phone design and functionality.”
Fuel cells are also expected to power the next generation of laptop computers. Manufacturer Toshiba demonstrated its own DMFC technology at January’s US Consumer Electronics Show. Its tests showed fuel cells could power a notebook computer for five hours.