Fuel cells to power IT products

Canon Inc. in Japan has announced that it has developed fuel cells for use in consumer-centric devices such as digital cameras and compact photo printers.

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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  October 27, 2005

Canon Inc. in Japan has announced that it has developed fuel cells for use in consumer-centric devices such as digital cameras and compact photo printers. The vendor hopes this new technology will replace the lithium-ion batteries that are currently used. The technology essentially works by mixing hydrogen and oxygen to generate useable electricity and should become available within three years. Whilst a number of other companies, such as Hitachi, NEC and Toshiba are also working on similar technologies, Canon claims its approach is unique. In particular, it’s hoping to perfect a system whereby hydrogen is obtained directly from a refillable cartridge. This is in contrast to firms focusing on devices that actually extract hydrogen from methanol. Canon claims its approach is more environmentally-friendly because other fuel cells that extract hydrogen from methanol produce a nasty byproduct - carbon dioxide. Canon also believes fuel cells will provide longer battery life than current batteries. The company says it has developed three prototypes of different sizes, which it says will suit devices such as digital cameras, photo printers, and even much smaller mobile devices. The firm is keen on producing this technology completely in-house and it’s hopeful that it will eventually reduce purchasing costs as it becomes less reliant on third-party vendors for key components.

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