UltraCell Corporation announces a new fuel cell power source for portable electronic devices that has twice the energy density of lithium batteries. UltraCell's reformed methanol fuel cell (RMFC) technology uses a micro reformer to generate fuel-cell-ready hydrogen from a highly concentrated methanol solution.
According to the company, this new portable power system has the power density of a hydrogen fuel cell but uses readily available, low cost methanol fuel in a convenient, compact package. Weighing about 40 ounces, the power unit is about the size of a paperback novel.
This new technology has already been developed by UltraCell as a prototype for the military. This original system, the XX90, was designed for up to 45 watts of continuous power. Subsequently, the U.S. Army's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC) awarded UltraCell a contract to accelerate its development of a more compact portable system to run at 25 watts. This new power source is being developed for commercial use as the UltraCell25 and will be available in 2006 for professional, industrial and mobile computing applications. Its name for the military will be the XX25.
UltraCell's micro reformer technology is designed to work in a user-friendly package that, with the push of a power button, self starts and feeds power as needed. The fuel canisters can be instantly "hot swapped," as needed, to provide continuous power in any remote situation. The system can even support batteries by serving as a portable recharging power supply.
The complete UltraCell system includes fuel processor, fuel cell stack, control system, balance of plant and easily replaceable fuel cartridge. The control system manages a steady flow of power by adjusting pump and compressor settings.