A Japanese start-up company claims that they are now able to create consumer-grade fuel cells when other larger companies have previously failed. Aquafairy is showcasing the prototypes of their hydrogen fuel cell technology at this week’s CEATEC 2013 in Chiba Prefecture.
According to Mike Aizawa, the company president, he is targeting to make the fuel cells available commercially by next year. He said others before him could not make the technology work because they were using methanol which has not made it very efficient. The idea of fuel cells has long been played around with by electronics companies as it is a portable and practical way to get power even without a power grid or when there is no electricity supply. But much of these companies’ research has failed or ended and did not even reach the market. Aquafariy devised a treatment that would make hydrogen, which is normally a reactive fuel, into solid form that can be used as fuel.
But Aquafairy was able to present three working prototypes at CEATEC, including a 2.5 megawatt pocket-size portable model that can charge most portable electronics gadgets. The second type is a 200-watt 7 kilogram fuel cell that is powered by a canister with solid hydrogen, just a little smaller than a car battery and is already being field-tested. It was developed together with New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) and can be used in the aftermath of disasters. The third one is a long-life type of fuel cell that can be used in remote areas, like the mountains and forests. While it just gives off half a watt of power, it can last for six months.
Aquafairy was established in 2006 and Aizawa said he wouldn’t have had put up the company if he didn’t believe he could bring the fuel cells to the market. They are currently working with Japanese company Rohm for the control circuitry, but Aizawa says they’re also looking for other partners in the project. There is no market cost yet for any of the products, but he knows it would have to be a consumer-friendly price.
[ via CIO ]