Fuel Cell Gadget Revolution Finally Arrives

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Simply refuel and charge.

    Fuel cell technology is finally getting more practical. Toshiba goes beyond the research stage with Dinario, the first fuel cell charger to be commercially available. Selling first in Japan on Oct. 29 for around $326, there will be only 3000 of these direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) chargers available at first, but it's a great start.

    Dinario has a 14mL fuel tank that fills up with methanol in about 20 seconds, and then it's instantly generating electricity, ready to start recharging USB devices. With that one refill, you can recharge a couple of cellphones, with the fuel costing about a dollar a charge. The best thing is, it lets you use your devices completely untethered from AC adapters and power outlets.

    This is just the beginning of the era of gadgets running on fuel cell power packs that keep on going and going for days, replenished from time to time with a few ounces of methanol. They'll get smaller and more practical as the technology advances, too. It's the beginning of a revolution.