The producer of fuel cells that can recharge mobile phones and portable music players told industrialists and policymakers on Friday not to count on the power packs to solve the energy crisis. "Don't hold your breath on fuel cells. Every 10 years they say commercial deployment is only 10 years away. We're still not seeing any real fuel cells that can run, say, a car," said Robert Lifton, chief executive of Medis Technologies. He was participating in several discussions on energy at the World Economic Forum, an annual huddle of government officials, corporate executives and special interest groups.
Medis itself will not provide the solution either, because its Power Pack fuel cell will only power small portable devices, and cannot be used for bigger items such as computers or cars. "Our product doesn't scale," Lifton said, adding that the company's first working prototypes would be introduced in May. The company plans to put a $29.99 price tag on its fuel cell for portable consumer electronics, such as handsets, MP3 players and digital cameras. Each cartridge of fuel, which will power a cell phone for some 12 hours, will be priced at $1.50. Its fuel cell should be among the very first commercial applications of an electrochemical process that was first discovered in the nineteenth century. A fuel cell converts the chemical energy of a fuel and oxidant to electrical energy.
News source: Reuters