Log in

View Full Version : All is Not Rosy With Fuel Cells?

Jason Dunn
04-10-2003, 04:30 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,110120,tk,dn040303X,00.asp' target='_blank'>http://www.pcworld.com/news/article...n040303X,00.asp</a><br /><br /></div>"Early fuel cells will probably have as much as a 5-to-1 advantage over similar-size (but heavier) batteries, Barnett says. Theoretically, the ratio could increase to 10-to-1 as the technology improves...To double the energy capacity of a standard battery, you would have to make the battery twice as massive...Fuel cells need their own batteries. Most portable devices have varied power demands, requiring a large flow of electricity at certain times and a tiny trickle at others. Batteries handle this variety well, but fuel cells tend to produce a steady stream of juice. The answer is to provide both a battery and a fuel cell, so the device can draw from the battery when demand is high, and run off the fuel cell when demand is lower. The fuel cell could be used to recharge the battery, depending on need."<br /><br />I took the most negative quotes from the linked article to illustrate the potential problems with fuel cells. I'm still a big believer in the technology, but the problems surfacing have tempered my excitement for it quite a bit. It's funny - people talk about the hectic pace of the technology industry, but when you take a step back, the big changes actually take years to accomplish, and in this regard the tech industry seems unbearably slow.

04-10-2003, 04:50 PM
I guess it's "build your patience" week in the technology front this week with all the discouraging news on new technology.

04-10-2003, 08:07 PM
The battery could be very small as it's only necessary to "load level" for the fuel cell. A super capacitor could also be used.

In fact, you will require a battery anyway. If you run out of fuel for the fuel cell, the battery would be used to retain data in RAM.

04-10-2003, 09:18 PM
Fuel cells will be great to improve apon overall life but who cares if they can entirely replace having a battery. I mean you could even have a small battery built into the fuel cell enclosure if it is maintaining two seperate powersources that is a problem. I think that having a small seperate battery would be best anyways so that you could pull out one fuel cell and put in the next without having to shut the system down. During that time your most likely quickly draining the small battery that will be rechared once a new fuel cell is inserted. It is like the hybrid car just slowly move to electricy for what we are good with now. Then when electric engines become better and better they may be able to replace gas powered cars. The day we know hybrids are taken seriously is when we see the first hybrid or electric sports car. hehe

04-10-2003, 11:47 PM
for the last few years it's been "pretty soon we'll have an alternative to Li-on batteries" and "OLED displays should be showing up in PDAs any month now." the fact of the matter is that it takes a long time to refine tech like this so that it's actually useable. existing technology tends to advance pretty quickly, and sometimes we extrapolate that to new tech. but bringing a completely new technology to the market is an entirely different ballgame than improving on what we've got.
i agree with Jason in that i'm optimistic about fuel cell technology. i'm looking forward to it, but as with everything, there are going to be roadblocks along the way.

04-11-2003, 02:14 AM
Fuel Cell technology will probably get a big boost as big bucks are sunk into it in the Automotive world. Unfortunately that comes at the expensive of research towards Battery Electric Vehicles.

Fuel Cells will, I believe, be great for PDA's, Flashlights and such--unfortunately I don't see them doing much for cars anytime soon. It's a bit of a paradox isn't it...