April 28, 2006 Maxell Hitachi has announced a new variation on the Polymer Electrolyte Fuel Cell (PEFC) which uses water and aluminium to generate hydrogen and promises a low cost 10 watt cell (enough to operate a laptop PC) with five times the energy density of Direct Methanol Fuel Cells (DMFC). With mobile devices becoming ever more compact, there is an increasing urgency to create higher density power sources. Without question, fuel cells will provide the answer, but both DMFC cells which use methanol as fuel and PEFC cells which use hydrogen as fuel, have their drawbacks. The limiting factor for DMFC is a low power density and problems* with the methanol crossover, while for PEFC the complex equipment, high-pressure tank and high cost of the reformer are the limiting factors. Maxell’s new variation of the PEFC generates hydrogen from the reaction of aluminium and water and promises a simple and low cost system suitable for application in fuel cell power sources up to 100W.
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