Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fuel cells for your phone.....very 'eco friendly'

Hi guys, sorry for the delay since my last post. Had been very busy with my research work at uni. When your thesis supervisor has all your home, mobile, dad's, mom's, MSN and email contacts, it's very hard to slack and be lazy (hi Dr Edwin :-p).

Anyhow, I was updating myself with the latest technology breakthrough news on the web when I stumbled upon this thing here: It seems that this company has created a fuel-cells powered battery that could light up your handphones and even laptops. Yup, read this just a day after Earth Day, with all those "Save our planet Earth!!" propagandas spreading all over the ionosphere worldwide. "It seems, Life is not without its sense of irony" - Quote Morpheus from The Matrix 1 :-p.

With successful prototypes been tested since last year and the very first one available on the market in 2009, I wonder how this would affect the ecosystem (ok, I'm trying very hard to care for our world here haha). Anyhow, let's look at the tech-spec of this methanol-powered battery. According to the spokesperson of the company, the battery when attached to a SLR enables the photographer to snap between 2800 and 4000 ( Yuan Wu can celebrate with joy ERIKA!!! :-p) photos as opposed to 1400 - 2200 with conventional lithium-ion batteries that's been powering most of our gadgets for many years now. To recharge the battery, just squirt (do they have to use this word???) fuel into the pack or you could just replace the whole cartridge.

Now here's the interesting part, methanol fuel cells create energy when oxygen and methanol react with catalysts in a membrane inside the fuel cell. The byproducts are electrons, water, and carbon dioxide, though the amount of carbon dioxide is fairly small. But imagine this, the whole world is using these fuel cells to power their gadgets and this 'fairly small amount of CO2' would actually sum up to a substantial amount of pollution gas. If you still couldn't get it, picture this: 1 handphone using fuel cells for power will produce a fairly small amount of CO2 as a byproduct. But with an average of 1 Billions handphones sold every year worldwide, I think we would be getting fairly large amount of CO2 here. Unless there are enough plants to convert all of the CO2 into oxygen, I think it's time for us to train our lungs to absorb CO2 and exhale O2 instead, not to mention an increase in Earth temperature also.

So if you were to ask me if this is a Noble invention, I would say No. Although methanol is a natural gas and is biodegradable, I think that at the end of the day it would do more harm than good, where smokers especially are safer to stay away from this fuel cell. Imagine what would happen if you are to use your fuel cells powered handphones while lighting up a cigarette :-p. Maybe someone ought to create a water-powered battery instead to counter this idea :-p AND HEY!!! Someone is doing it already!! Kudos to you Samsung!! Not that I own your products.....haha but great job seriously.

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