Fuel Cells Explained

Fuel Cell Applications & Issues

Portable Applications

Most of the portable applications have used PEMFC although a version of that technology, Direct Methanol Fuel Cells, is an area of intense research and development.


Portable Defined

As defined by the U.S. Fuel Cell Council, "portable has been divided into two categories:" fuel cell power packs and small portable power generators.

Fuel Cell Power Packs
Fuel cell power packs refer to battery replacement type applications. Examples would be fuel cells packaged into portable devices such as lap[top of page] computers, cellular phones, digital cameras, camcorders, and power tools. Portable devices are seen as employing up to 100 watt hours of energy, with supplemental energy available through refueling cartridges. Examples include:

  • Cellular Phones (1 - 3 W)
  • Computers (5 - 50 W)
  • Camcorders (2 -5 W)
  • Cordless Tools (20 - 200 W)

Small Portable Power Generators
Small Portable Power Generators refer to units up to about 20 pounds in weight, up to 3 - 5 kW power, with fuel for up to 1 to 2 kWhr energy. Examples of applications include power for camping and other recreational activity, or short-term power in an emergency.

Companies involved in the area of portable fuel cells include:

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