Think fuel cells are just for cars? Think again. Their real value may be to power portable electronics such as laptops and cell phones. Fuel cells that use methanol, rather than gasoline, could replace batteries in electronics. They last much longer and take just a moment to refuel—and they're greener and possibly safer than batteries, reports the Economist.
Toshiba is planning to make fuel cells for laptops and cell phones within the year, and Sharp says it’s building cells with the highest power density yet. Another company has found that a fuel cell can power a satellite-navigation device for 60 hours before refueling. In October, US airplane travelers will be able to bring fuel cell electronics, plus spare fuel, on board.