NTT DoCoMo and Aquafairy announced today that they 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 the smallest in the world with power output of 2 watts. 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 on July 6, 2005. 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.
DoCoMo will exhibit the recharger at its booth at Wireless Japan 2006 from July 19 to 21.