The company's announcement at its demonstration Friday in Japan postpones the release of its fuel cells by a year.
of a powerful, long-lasting and very cheap power source in a tiny package. A number of companies have created fuel-cell designs, but none has made it to the production phase.
Toshiba claims its latest attempt at the technology has created a product that is capable of providing an output of 1 watt per hour for approximately 20 hours of operation, using a 25 cubic centimeter fuel cartridge containing high-concentration methanol.
According to Toshiba, previous attempts to create a fuel-cell product ran into problems because in order to produce power efficiently, the methanol needs to be mixed with a large quantity of water, which made the product too large and heavy to be portable. The company said that it has now managed to use just one-tenth of the water that was previously necessary for an efficient reaction, enabling a smaller and lighter product.
in March at the trade show in Hannover, Germany. At the time, the company said it expected to have a commercial product ready next year. In September, research firm Allied Business Intelligence published a report predicting that commercial fuel cells would not appear till at least 2004 but that global shipments would reach 200 million units in 2011.