IBM and Sanyo Electric have presented initial plans for a micro direct methanol fuel cell system for IBM ThinkPad notebooks. The companies worked together to develop a prototype fuel cell system that could supply up to 8 hours of power per cartridge on current and future ThinkPad models.
Unlike other prototypes that require a modified design to outfit fuel cell batteries, the system was designed to be compatible with most current ThinkPad models without the need to alter the notebook design. The fuel cell system also includes an auxiliary bay IBM's Ultrabay Slim Battery to supplement peak power consumption for business applications. In addition, the auxiliary bay could be used to charge an Ultrabay Slim Battery.
The IBM PC Division's ThinkPad development team has focused on new behavioral usage models for fuel cells in mobile computing, such as docking stations used for office 'hoteling' concepts and the deployment of notebook computers in locations remote from traditional power sources.
Mitsuru Homma, Group Executive of Sanyo's Power Solutions Group, says "This is quite a new concept that utilizes both micro fuel cells and rechargeable batteries. This hybrid system could enable the user to efficiently operate IBM's ThinkPad notebooks for a longer time compared to systems with only a fuel cell while also providing the convenience of an AC cordless environment."
The IBM PC Division's research and development of ThinkPad mobile computing technology takes place at the Yamato Laboratory in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan and at development facilities in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. After the launch of the new Lenovo Group in the second quarter, 2005, these resources will be joined by Lenovo R&D facilities in Beijing and Shanghai.