Subject: Viridian Note 00129: Portable Fuel Cells

Key concepts: fuel cells, laptops, cellphones, Motorola

Attention Conservation Notice: It's a hard-vaporware news release of primary interest to technical specialists.

Links: US National Research Council of National Academy of Sciences declares global warming "undoubtedly real." US Fuel Cell Council industry trade group. Viridian bookstore and many other documents. Our proudly Danish archival site.

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This contest expires February 15, 02000.

A new Viridian Individual Project: Highly Viridian new-millennium architecture screed by tag-team of Michael McDonough and Bruce Sterling.

Source: Motorola Press Release, Reuters

"Wednesday January 19 11:49 AM ET

"Motorola Makes Fuel Cell to Power Laptops, Phones

"SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (Reuters) == Motorola Inc. (NYSE:MOT) said on Wednesday that researchers developed a powerful, miniature fuel cell that may one day replace traditional batteries in laptop computers, cellular phones and other devices."

(((I like the way they cut right to the chase and give out the name of the stock in the first three words.)))

"Motorola, the world's No. 2 wireless phone maker and
a major computer chip manufacturer, said scientists at its labs and at Los Alamos National Laboratory used liquid methanol to power the cells, which last up to 10 times longer than existing rechargeable batteries. Liquid methanol, a wood alcohol, is also used in windshield wiper fluid.

(((Amazingly, at, taxpayer-supported federal researchers get first billing instead of Motorola. LANL doesn't, however, list itself as "World's No. 2 Nuclear Warhead Maker." The Viridian Imaginary Product dream of a booze-powered cellphone is one step closer to reality, except that == come on, guys == you cannot drink windshield wiper fluid. Get with the program.)))

"The fuel cells, which are still about three to five
years away from the store shelves, could power a wireless phone for more than a month and keep a laptop running for 20 hours, Bill Ooms, director of Motorola's material, device, and energy research, said in a telephone interview."

(((This Bill Ooms guy has got something on the ball! Check out his lovely home! Vaulted ceilings, wood-powered stove, heated floors... Of course, this tasteful structure may belong to some other Motorola engineer named "Bill Ooms," but what are the odds.))) Link:

"They would use small plastic canisters similar to
those used for fountain pen ink. Consumers could easily check the methanol level to find out when to replace the fuel cell, which will likely cost as much as or less than traditional rechargeables, Ooms said."

(((Call me a market-burned cynic, but did you ever
notice that Lamy, Rotring, Waterman and Waterford fountain pens sell tiny, overpriced driblets of ink that don't interoperate? Look for similar segmentation and lock-in in the corporate fuel-cell market! Ink and alcohol are so dead cheap that the revenue stream is all in uniquely shaped plastic canisters.)))

"'Manufacturers are constantly developing new
features for portable electronic equipment that require more power and longer operating life,' Ooms said. 'These fuel cells have an amazing ability to produce energy for longer periods of time while weighing far less than conventional batteries.'"

(((I find myself severely un-amazed that you can pump
fuel into a little motor and it will run for a long time. But, sense-of-wonder aside, I'd pay good money to see my arsenal of gizmos stop excreting dead, toxic batteries.)))

"(...) These new miniature cells, each measuring about
one inch square and less than one-tenth of an inch in thickness, use a reservoir of inexpensive methanol that, when combined with the oxygen in the air, produces electricity."

(((The darn things are the size of postage stamps!
"Pervasive computing," here we come.)))

"The 'air breathing' fuel cell was developed at Los
Alamos National Laboratory. The highly simplified and miniaturized design eliminates the need for air pumps, heat exchangers and other complex devices that previous fuel cells required and therefore disqualified them from successful use in small portable electronic products."

(((Lest one imagine that this is mere pipe-dream hooey, check out this extensive list of heavy-duty industry operators. Every last one of these outfits is ready to start signing checks for "Commercialization of Small Fuel Cells and Battery Technologies For Use in Portable Applications".)))


"3M Center; ABB Corporate Research; Advanced Modular Power Systems, Inc.; AER Energy Resources, Inc.; Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.; ARETE Corp.; Arizona Public Service; Arizona State University; Auburn University; Avery Dennison; Ball Corporation; Ballard Power Systems Inc.; Battelle Pacific Northwest National Lab.; Bell Laboratories, Lucent Technologies; Bellcore; Bitrode Corporation; Bondface Technology, Inc.; Cabot / Specialty Chemicals; Canon Research Center America; Celgard LLC; Chemetall Foote Corporation; Columbian Chemicals Co.; DaimlerChrysler Aerospace; Dais Corporation; DCH Technology; De Nora North America; Degussa Corp.; Dell Computer; Department of Defense; Dept. of Commerce, NIST/ATP; Dow Chemical Company; DSM Research; Dupont; Duracell, Inc.; E.I. Dupont Inc.; Eagle-Picher Technologies, LLC; ELF Atochem North America, Inc.; Energizer; Energy Conversion Devices, Inc.; Energy Related Devices, Inc.; Epyx; Ergenics, Inc.; Ericsson Mobile Phones; E-TEK, Inc.; Eveready Battery Co.; Evonyx; Federal Aviation Administration; Foster Miller, Inc.; Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems; Gas Research Institute; Gillette; Giner, Inc.; H Power Corporation; H2 Tech Ecole Polytechnique ; Honda R&D America ; HRL Laboratories; Hydrogenics Corp.; IBM Corp., T.J. Watson Research Center; Industrial Technology Research Institute; InnovaTek; Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Korber Aktiengesellschaft; Korea Institute of Energy Research; Lawrence Livermore National Lab.; LG Caltex Oil Corp.; LG Corporate Institute of Technology; LG Technology Center Europe; LG-Caltex Oil Corp.; Lockheed Martin; Lynntech, Inc.; Maccor, Inc. ; Manhattan Scientific; Michigan State University; Micro Coating Technologies; Motorola; National Fuel Cell Research Center; National Taiwan University; New York State Energy R & D Authority; Niagara Mohawk; Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Phillip Morris; PLANSEE AG; Plug Power LLC; PPG Industries, Inc.; Princeton University; Procter & Gamble; Proton Energy Systems, Inc.; Raytheon Systems; Robert Bosch GmbH; Sandia National Laboratories; Sarnoff Corporation; Schafer Corp.; Semelab PLC; SGL Carbon Corp.; Shanghai Jiao Tong University; Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd.; Superior Micropowders; Taiwan Institute of Economic Research; Temple University; U.S. Department of Energy; U.S. Department of Transportation; UC Davis ; United Technologies Research Center; University of South Carolina; US ARMY Corps of Engineers; US Coastguard R & D Center; Vanderbilt University; Virginia Tech; W.L. Gore & Associates; Yanmar Diesel Engine Co. Ltd."

O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O JUST A MOMENT WHILE I FIRE UP MY JOGGING SHOES O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O O=c=O