Ending recharge headaches

The Prototype created by Acker's company, MTI Micro Fuel Cells Inc., relies on a minute flow of methanol to generate electricity. MTI Micro aims to shrink the prototype and begin selling its first commercial fuel cell product in 2004.

The idea is to tap into the ever-expanding personal electronics market and provide a power source for the millions of people talking, computing and checking e-mail on the go.

MTI Micro is in a crowd of companies including Motorola and Casio trying to develop a commercial micro fuel cell.

"The market application potential is huge," said Kelly Nash, an analyst with McDonald Investments Inc. "I'm sure you have had issues with your cell phone battery. I know I have."

Methanol is flammable, but company officials say the unit is safely sealed. Some hospitals, credit card processors and other businesses already use fuel cells. Residential units are being developed and prototype fuel cell cars are already rolling, although most automakers do not expect to mass market them before 2010.

News source: MSNBC - Ending recharge headaches

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