Platinum Cell Phones

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Cell phones containing platinum are likely to hit the market next year after an announcement by Japan's DoCoMo that it will start shipping 3G phones that will use fuel cells instead of batteries. Fuel cells require platinum as a major component to enable them to generate energy. Platinum increases electrical conductivity in PEM (proton exchange membrane) fuel cells. It is critical to fuel cell commercialization and can alone command 10% to 20% of a fuel cell system's cost. Accepting the U.S. Department of Energy's target for platinum use in fuel cell vehicles 0.2 grams per kilowatt total platinum use by fuel cell systems could bring an 8% to 12% increase to the world demand for platinum by 2013 according to ABI projections.

With South Africa and Russia dominating world production of platinum, industrialized nations who may seek to replace part of their fossil fuel infrastructure with alternative energy sources may have to address issues of dependence on platinum over the long term.

While mass market commercial fuel cell shipments remain elusive, the year 2004 may prove to be the moment of truth. Both Toshiba and NEC reiterated their goals to ship laptops powered by micro fuel cells in 2004, and Japanese wireless giant NTT DoCoMo also surprised the market with its announcement to ship 3G handsets powered by micro fuel cells. The market for micro fuel cells is expected to reach about 200 million units in 2011, according to research firm ABI."

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Tags: toshiba  nec  3g phones  fuel cells  fuel cell  ntt docomo 

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