NTT DoCoMo, Inc. and Aquafairy Co. announced that they have agreed to jointly develop a micro fuel cell for 3G FOMA™ handsets. This agreement follows their successful development of a polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEFC) that has proven effective in a prototype recharger.
The fuel cell is claimed to be the smallest in the world with a power output of 2W (as of July 14). The recharger combines DoCoMo’s recharger technology with Aquafairy’s thin film power unit technology and catalyst for producing hydrogen from water. The simple hydrogen-producing mechanism and power units make the recharger less than one-fourth the size and more than twice as powerful as the methanol fuel cell prototype that DoCoMo unveiled in July. The easily portable recharger can charge a handset several times, and the recharging time is approximately the same as an ac adapter.
Demands for power consumption have risen with new FOMA services and features. To meet these demands, DoCoMo has worked on increasing the capacity of lithium-ion batteries, the most common battery in handsets today, and developed a direct methanol fuel cell recharger. Now, the company is also exploring the possibilities of PEFCs, which have higher power density than methanol cells and less environmental impact since they convert water into hydrogen.