NTT DoCoMo is planning to buy a slice of a Japanese venture company that has made some promising advances in fuel-cell technology.
Japan’s largest cellular telephone company will acquire 36.5 percent of Aquafairy for an undisclosed sum, NTT DoCoMo said Monday. Aquafairy is based in Osaka and was spun out of Japan’s Nitto Denko to work on fuel-cell technology.
Aquafairy is developing polymer electrolyte fuel cells, in which water is injected into a cartridge and converted to hydrogen by a catalyst. The hydrogen is sent to an anode where the ions and electrons are separated and the electrons flow to the cathode, creating electricity.
NTT DoCoMo has been working with the startup for some time on a micro fuel-cell recharger for use with cell phone handsets. Such a device could recharge a cell phone battery without having to plug it into an electrical power outlet. It’s seen as an intermediate step toward the ultimate goal of a fuel cell small enough to be integrated into the cell phone handset itself.
A prototype unveiled by Acquafairy in July was a quarter the size and twice as powerful as one NTT DoCoMo developed with Fujitsu Laboratories and displayed a year earlier. The latest recharger has an output of 2 watts, measures 24 millimeters square and 70 millimeters long, and weighs 45 grams.
-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)
Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.