IBM and Sanyo Electric today unveiled initial plans for a prototype micro direct methanol fuel cell system for IBM ThinkPad notebooks. Leveraging Sanyo's latest advancements in fuel cells that increase the longevity of notebook batteries, IBM and Sanyo jointly developed a basic design of a fuel cell power source. Based on the design, the companies developed a prototype fuel cell system that could supply up to eight hours of power per cartridge on current and future ThinkPad models.
Unlike other prototypes that require a modified design to outfit fuel cell batteries, Sanyo's system was designed to be compatible with most current ThinkPad models without the need to alter the notebook design -- demonstrating the resiliency of the ThinkPad notebook's internal power architecture. The fuel cell system also includes an auxiliary bay IBM's Ultrabay Slim Battery to supplement peak power consumption for business applications. In addition, the auxiliary bay could be used to make the power supply even more versatile by charging an Ultrabay Slim Battery.
The fuel cell system could enable ThinkPad notebooks to run intensive business applications such as multimedia, graphics and computation programs, while performing tasks such as security updates and scheduled maintenance without draining PC battery power. These capabilities could provide added stability for increased productivity, access to information and customer service.
The IBM PC Division's ThinkPad development team has focused on new behavioral usage models for fuel cells in mobile computing, such as docking stations used for office hoteling concepts and the deployment of notebook computers in locations remote from traditional power sources.
Sanyo (now part of Panasonic) produces rechargeable batteries, supplying power to mobile phones, notebook PCs, and other mobile devices.
ThinkPad notebook PCs are available worldwide.