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New fuel cell battery lasts 4 hours

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Jan 31,2006

A portable multimedia player powered by Samsung SDI’s new fuel cell battery. Provided by the company

Samsung SDI Co., a top display-panel maker, said yesterday it has developed fuel cell batteries that enable users to watch movies on their portable media players for four hours without having to recharge. The batteries were developed for use in portable media players, personal digital assistants and mobile phones, all of which are enjoying soaring demand. Samsung SDI says its battery is the most durable yet produced for use with portable media players, which now offer functions as diverse as an MP3 player, an electronic dictionary, a game machine, a mobile phone and digital multimedia broadcasting. While traditional lithium batteries need to be plugged into a socket to be recharged, the new fuel-cell batteries, to be mass-produced from 2008, only need new methanol cartridges. The cartridges are expected to be as cheap as disposable gas lighters sold at supermarkets and convenience stores. Methanol cartridges measuring just 20 cubic centimeters, or about half the size of a shot glass, will enable users of portable media players to watch eight 30-minute dramas in a row. Lithium batteries keep current players running for just two hours or so, and they take four hours to recharge. The next-generation fuel-cell batteries will also make it possible for manufactures to come up with smaller and slimmer gadgets, the company said. Yoon Seok-yeol, head of the energy research center at Samsung SDI, said, “We have invested 3.8 billion won [$3.9 million] into the fuel-cell battery development process over the past year and four months, and 40 researchers have participated.” by Seo Ji-eun


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