LG will be the first company to commercialise a portable fuel-cell system for notebook computers within a year, the company has pledged.
Developed by LG subsidiary LG Chem, the fuel cell comprises a reaction vessel and removable 200cc methanol fuel reservoir. Together, they can generate 25W of power for more than ten hours. The cell itself lasts for more than 4000 hours - eight times longer than competing products, LG Chem claimed.
Designed for notebooks, the fuel cell will also be able to power handheld devices such as portable media players and mobile phones, LG Chem said, by connecting to their USB ports.
Still, LG Chem's prototype isn't exactly compact, as the company's photos show. It said the fuel-cell unit weighs under 1kg.
LG is looking to develop other units, capable of generating between 5W and 50W, so there's clearly the prospect of much smaller devices down the line.
The company said the global market for fuel cells is likely to hit $600m next year, rising to $1.9bn by 2010.
Toshiba is also pursuing the fuel-cell market, but doesn't expect to have product on the market until 2007. Earlier this month, it revealed a pair of prototype MP3 players with built-in, refillable fuel cells. It is also working on notebook-oriented versions, as are NEC and others. ®