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  • Methanol Laptops

    Just saw this in the news...

    NEC Unveils Methanol-Fueled Laptop


    TOKYO (AP) - Japanese computer giant NEC Corp. Monday revealed a prototype of a laptop computer that runs on a methanol fuel cell instead of a rechargeable battery, and said it will start selling it next year.

    A number of other companies are developing similar fuel cells, which promise to power electronics ten times longer than the lithium-ion batteries currently in use.

    Also, users will be able to keep operating their computers by replacing the fuel cartridge or refilling with methanol fuel, instead of recharging the battery.

    NEC initially plans to introduce a computer with a fuel-cell system able to run for five consecutive hours on a single cartridge of methanol fuel, but also plans to make a PC within two years that can run continuously for as long as 40 hours.

    Fuel cells produce electricity without generating pollutants, through an electrochemical reaction that uses oxygen and hydrogen.

    Japanese companies are shaping up to be pioneers in fuel-cell technology. NEC rival Toshiba Corp. said in March it developed the world's first prototype of a methanol-type fuel cell system to run notebook PCs. It also plans to commercialize its product in 2004.

    Among other leading Japanese micro fuel cell developers are Sony Corp., Casio Computer Co. and Hitachi Ltd.


    06/30/03 19:15

    Copyright The Associated Press



    Somehow I get the feeling that these may be great in the office or on the road but I can't imagine that potentially explosive computers are going to be allowed on aircraft. You know for sure that there's no way you could carry your little refill can of methanol gas aboard. The laptop manufacturers need to work on something that would let you use your laptop on a New York to Tokyo non-stop. That way you could use if for work or to watch a movie or even surf the Net to keep busy for all those long hours.

  • #2
    The laptop manufacturers need to work on something that would let you use your laptop on a New York to Tokyo non-stop
    Um... a powerport?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by nyc_spotter
      Um... a powerport?
      I was thinking more along the lines of something independent of the aircraft power. Imagine an A-380 with 600 to 800 laptop users all jacked in at the same time. The power demand would be pretty high. Not to mention that the weight of all the wire needed to run ports to every seat would cut down that much on how much revenue load the aircraft could carry. I'm sure the airlines would much rather not have to go to all the expense of providing a power lead to every seat if they could avoid it.

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      • #4
        I briefly had an ethanol-powered laptop the past weekend, cause I accidently spilled some beer on my iBook.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Freightdogg
          Originally posted by nyc_spotter
          Um... a powerport?
          I was thinking more along the lines of something independent of the aircraft power. Imagine an A-380 with 600 to 800 laptop users all jacked in at the same time. The power demand would be pretty high. Not to mention that the weight of all the wire needed to run ports to every seat would cut down that much on how much revenue load the aircraft could carry. I'm sure the airlines would much rather not have to go to all the expense of providing a power lead to every seat if they could avoid it.
          The power demand would be no big deal for a plane with 5 generators. There would be no big demand for wire either as it would be destributed by a series of dc busses.

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          • #6
            The important thing to look at is that methanol fuel cells would produce their own energy pollution-free. That Lithium Ion battery requires electricity to charge it, and most powerplants in the world produce pollution of some sort when they produce electricity. Some researcher are also currently looking at a gel battery, one so thin that is can be placed in gaps inside of products, and in turn, would shrink the size of products.

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