Japan's wireless giant DoCoMo made a recent announcement that it will launch a fuel cell-powered 3G handset in the 2004-2005 time frame. This is an early indicator of the potential for micro fuel cells (MFCs) in much-touted next generation portable electronics.
Japan's wireless giant DoCoMo made a recent announcement that it will launch a fuel cell-powered 3G handset in the 2004-2005 time frame. This is an early indicator of the potential for micro fuel cells (MFCs) in much-touted next generation portable electronics. Research firm Allied Business Intelligence (ABI) points to near term shipments as demonstrating potential for the sector, more than that expected for fuel cells for the stationary or automotive segments. DoCoMo's announcement is also in line with the recent ABI study, "Micro Fuel Cell End-Use Markets."
"Although there is still some level of uncertainty in the type of product in DoCoMo's announcement, the industry should take notice of this move," explains Atakan Ozbek, Director of Energy Research at ABI. "While Toshiba and Hitachi continue to develop a sustainable product for laptops, DoCoMo's strategy clears the doubts on market penetration success for wireless handsets. As the level of interest rises, so does the competition in the MFC sector, as it moves towards a commercialization timetable."
ABI's study, "Micro Fuel Cell End-Use Markets," predicts that MFC unit shipments will reach as much as 200 million worldwide by 2011. Some of the major findings of the study include:
- MFCs will be seen in products in the 2004-2005 time frame
- The competition to launch early units will increase
- MFC's value assessment could be a key to the success of other future technologies-3G handsets, military electronics, etc.-which all increase the potential success of MFCs.
"Another important aspect that most MFC developers still seem to be unaware of is the complexity of possible government regulations," continues Ozbek. "The benefits of a longer battery life are a boon for technology products; however, it may take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to get codes and standards for working commercial products on board aircraft-a must-have for MFCs for use by the Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration."
ABI's micro fuel cell study assesses the last technical hurdles ahead of commercial distribution of MFCs, along with critical elements of regulatory and business issues in major regions from North America to Japan. The study assesses the comparative market potential of important end-use markets, and provides growth projections by market and by region through 2011.
Allied Business Intelligence Inc. is an Oyster Bay, N.Y.-based technology research think tank founded in 1990. ABI publishes research and technology intelligence on the wireless, automotive, electronics, networking and energy industries. Details may be found at www.alliedworld.com or by calling 516-624-3113.