IBM and SANYO Electric today unveiled initial plans for a prototype micro direct methanol fuel cell system for IBM ThinkPad notebooks. Leveraging SANYO’s latest advancements in fuel cells that increase the longevity of notebook batteries, IBM and SANYO jointly developed a basic design of a fuel cell power source. Based on the design, the companies developed a prototype fuel cell system that could supply up to 8 hours of power per cartridge on current and future ThinkPad models. Unlike other prototypes that require a modified design to outfit fuel cell batteries, SANYO’s system was designed to be compatible with most current ThinkPad models without the need to alter the notebook design.

Sanyo thinkpad fuel cell IBM & Sanyo Demo Fuel Cell for Notebooks

IBM and SANYO Electric today unveiled initial plans for a prototype micro
direct methanol fuel cell system for IBM ThinkPad notebooks. Leveraging SANYO’s
latest advancements in fuel cells that increase the longevity of notebook
batteries, IBM and SANYO jointly developed a basic design of a fuel cell power
source. Based on the design, the companies developed a prototype fuel cell
system that could supply up to 8 hours of power per cartridge on current and
future ThinkPad models.

Unlike other prototypes that require a modified design to outfit fuel cell
batteries, SANYO’s system was designed to be compatible with most current
ThinkPad models (1) without the need to alter the notebook design —
demonstrating the resiliency of the ThinkPad notebook’s internal power
architecture. The fuel cell system also includes an auxiliary bay IBM’s Ultrabay
Slim Battery to supplement peak power consumption for business applications. In
addition, the auxiliary bay could be used to make the power supply even more
versatile by charging an Ultrabay Slim Battery.

The fuel cell system could enable ThinkPad notebooks to run intensive business
applications such as multimedia, graphics and computation programs, while
performing tasks such as security updates and scheduled maintenance without
draining PC battery power. These capabilities could provide added stability for
increased productivity, access to information and customer service.

"There are a number of vendors developing fuel cell battery prototypes for PCs
and mobile devices, but the combination of IBM’s first-class ThinkPad notebooks
and SANYO’s leadership position in the technology will accelerate research and
development in the field," said Peter Hortensius, vice president, IBM Personal
Computing Division. "We do not focus simply on the ‘wow factor’ of fuel cells —
we see it as a powerful enabler that could support a wide variety of business
applications. These companies are collaborating to help carry ThinkPad notebooks
to the next generation of power supplies, while supporting the highest levels of
business productivity."

The IBM PC Division’s ThinkPad development team has focused on new behavioral
usage models for fuel cells in mobile computing, such as docking stations used
for office ‘hoteling’ concepts and the deployment of notebook computers in
locations remote from traditional power sources.

"SANYO, as the world technology leader in rechargeable batteries, has been
conducting research and development of fuel cells. I am proud to work in earnest
specifically with IBM to create a innovative fuel cell system with the ThinkPad
design, the industry standard in business computing," said Mitsuru Homma, Group
Executive of SANYO’s Power Solutions Group. "This is quite a new concept that
utilizes both micro fuel cells and rechargeable batteries. This hybrid system
could enable the user to efficiently operate IBM’s ThinkPad notebooks for a
longer time compared to systems with only a fuel cell while also providing the
convenience of an AC cordless environment."

The IBM PC Division’s research and development of ThinkPad mobile computing
technology takes place at the Yamato Laboratory in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
and at development facilities in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. After
the launch of the new Lenovo Group in the second quarter, 2005, these resources
will be joined by Lenovo R&D facilities in Beijing and Shanghai.

SANYO is the world’s leading producer of rechargeable batteries, supplying power
to mobile phones, notebook PCs and other mobile devices. SANYO’s Energy Research
Facility is a stronghold for research and development in the mobile energy
field. SANYO is building a strong base for the next generation of mobile energy
businesses by consistently performing fundamental and application technology
research, working with a wide range of mobile energy related technology.