Sony showed off a tiny fuel cell at the Smart Fuel Cells 2008 exhibition that ends today, which combines a fuel cell, Li-polymer battery and control circuit for the first time. In testing conducted in Japan, Sony found a 1Seg video broadcast can play for 14 hours on 10mL of methanol. Use of a refined technology using the fuel cell could significantly boost the run times of today's consumer electronics, specifically laptop and cellphone batteries.
At 1.2 by nearly 2 inches, the system could be used in mobile devices, and Sony is taking steps to commercialize the design. The prototype is a result or research and development done at the Sony Material Laboratory, which rates the instantaneous power output of its creation at up to 3W.
The active fuel cell system uses methanol as fuel, and earns the hybrid designation as the output is complemented with a Li-polymer secondary battery. Traditional fuel cells produce electricity from various external quantities of fuel, and last for long amounts of time, but constantly require re-fueling, while Sony's prototype could operate by storing the produced charge in its integrated battery.