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Fuel cell phones and camerasCNET News.com's Michael Kanellos talks with MTI's CEO Peng Lim, who shows off fuel cell prototypes for electronic gadgets that Lim says will finally start hitting the market next year.
^B00:00:00 [ Music ] >> Methanol cell is safe. Is safe... >> Peng Lim, CEO of MTI, wants you to know that you won't end up as a big ball of fire if you use a methanol fuel cell. >> Methanol is also called wood alcohol, so it does not create flame by itself. >> Mm-hmm. >> You have to be -- ignite, you know, just like paper... >> Okay. All right. >> ...or alcohol or anything like that. >> People have been promising that fuel cells will replace batteries since Lyndon Johnson was sitting in the White House. Technical problems, price, and customer wariness, though, have always pushed them out. >> Great. And in '09 we'll have fuel cell products in the market? >> We are certainly working toward '09 as a launching of the product. That's correct. >> More importantly, consumer electronics makers are showing more interest. Here's a Samsung Blackjack prototype with an embedded fuel cell. >> If I flip that around, it is powered by a fuel cell. >> Oh yeah. Interesting. >> So it's just embedded fuel cell inside. >> One of the more interesting ones is a methanol energy pack for professional photographers. Now, they carry batteries. And Peng knows one that carries five separate batteries. With methanol, they can carry one. >> With the fuel cell, you just pop in the new cartridge with the methanol. And then you can get, you know, energy keep on going again. >> Mm-hmm. >> There's no reason for you to recharge from the electricity any more. >> Okay. >> Then there are these. These are prototype universal chargers. They connect to PCs, phones, or MP3 players with a USB cord. No more taking 18 different power cords when you travel. >> All you need is one of these, and maybe another cartridge. >> Right. >> And then just cable. >> Here's another myth Peng Lim wants to dispel. Although fuel cells produce carbon dioxide, they're fairly environmentally friendly because you don't have to charge them from the wall. >> Carbon dioxide actually suck to recycle it back into the air. >> Okay. >> But very, very small volume, actually, smaller than a human breathing. >> Okay. >> Yes. That's right. We do produce carbon dioxide, too. >> Don't hold your breath for methanol fuel cells, but you could start seeing them next year. I'm Michael Kanellos for News.com. ^M00:01:56 [ Music ]