Fuel Cells as Energy Sources for Future Mobile Devices

[+] Author and Article Information
Sari Tasa

 Nokia Research Center Helsinki, Multimedia Laboratory, Mechanics & Integration Competence Area, P.O. Box 407, 00045 Nokia Group, Finlandsari.tasa@nokia.com

Teppo Aapro

 Nokia Research Center Helsinki, Multimedia Laboratory, Mechanics & Integration Competence Area, P.O. Box 407, 00045 Nokia Group, Finlandteppo.aapro@nokia.com

J. Fuel Cell Sci. Technol 3(4), 492-494 (Feb 03, 2006) (3 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2349534 History: Received November 30, 2005; Revised February 03, 2006

Mobile device manufacturers would like to provide totally wireless solutions—including charging. Future multimedia devices need to have longer operation times as simultaneously they require more power. Device miniaturization leaves less volumetric space available also for the energy source. The energy density of the Li-ion batteries is high, and continuously developed, but not at the same speed as the demand from devices. Fuel cells can be one possible solution to power mobile devices without connection to the mains grid, but they will not fit to all use cases. The fuel cell system includes a core unit, fuel system, controls, and battery to level out peaks. The total energy efficiency is the sum of the performance of the whole system. The environmental performance of the fuel cell system cannot be determined yet. Regulatory and standardization work is on-going and driving the fuel cell technology development. The main target is in safety, which is very important aspect for energy technologies. The outcomes will also have an effect on efficiency, cost, design, and environmental performance. Proper water, thermal, airflow, and fuel management of the fuel cell system combined with mechanical durability and reliability are the crucial enablers for stable operation required from the integrated power source of a mobile device. Reliability must be on the same level as the reliability of the device the energy source is powering; this means years of continuous operation time. Typically, the end-users are not interested of the enabling technologies nor understand the usage limits. They are looking for easy to use devices to enhance their daily life. Fuel cell technology looks promising but there are many practical issues to be solved.

Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Topics: Fuel cells , Batteries
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Figure 1

Power consumption at maximum transmitter output power (W) battery capacity index (%) (1)

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Figure 2

Ideal versus actual fuel cell potential curve as a function of current density (mA∕cm2)(2)

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Figure 3

Charging current/voltage window for special chargers (4)



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