*NEWS*CANON’S NEW FUEL CELLS FOR PRINTERS

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*NEWS*CANON’S NEW FUEL CELLS FOR PRINTERS

 user 2005-11-21 at 10:20:00 am Views: 52
  • #13234

    Canon to develop fuel cells for printers
    TOKYO 
    - Japan’s Canon Inc  said on Tuesday it has developed tiny fuel cells
    that it hopes will start replacing conventional batteries to power some
    of its digital cameras and printers in three years.
    Canon will join
    a small army of companies, including Toshiba Corp. , NEC Corp.  and
    Hitachi Ltd., that are working on the development and commercialization
    of fuel-cell batteries for the next-generation of consumer electronics.
    Fuel-cell
    technology mixes hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity and is
    considered a promising replacement for today’s lithium-ion batteries,
    which are widely used to power a range of mobile products from notebook
    PCs to mobile phones.
    Canon, the world’s top maker of copiers and
    cameras, is aggressively investing in the development of new products,
    keen to cultivate new growth drivers as the digital camera market slows
    and competition in the printer and copier markets heats up.
    The move
    is also in line with its plan to cut procurement costs by bringing more
    production of key parts in-house. Canon is also developing organic
    light-emitting diode (OLED) displays to replace the liquid crystal
    displays (LCD) it buys from other firms for use in its cameras and
    printers.
    While most of the development of tiny fuel cells is
    currently focused on devices that derive hydrogen from methanol, Canon
    is working on a system that supplies hydrogen directly from a
    refillable cartridge.
    Canon’s system would be more environmentally
    friendly because fuel cells that extract hydrogen from methanol emit
    some carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Fuel cells that use only hydrogen
    do not.
    The Tokyo-based company has developed three prototypes. One
    is relatively large and would likely be used in a compact printer,
    another is the right size for a digital camera, and the smallest is
    about 3 cm by 4 cm (1.2 by 1.6 inches) for tinier mobile devices.
    Fuel
    cells promise longer battery life than existing lithium-ion batteries
    but there are several hurdles on the road to commercialization.
    Prototypes are typically much larger and makers must establish an easy
    way to provide consumers with fuel.
    Canon has not yet decided on how to sell the product, but would likely refill the hydrogen cartridges at Canon outlets.