Toshiba plans to launch an external battery charger based on a DMFC (direct methanol fuel cell) in the next two months, its new president said today.

The charger will be a portable device that can be used to charge the batteries in portable gadgets such as mobile phones, music players and portable game devices instead of plugging them into an electrical outlet.

DMFCs produce electricity from a reaction between methanol, water and air. The only by-products are a small amount of water vapour and carbon dioxide, so DMFCs are often seen as a greener source of energy than traditional batteries. Another advantage is that they can be replenished with a new cartridge of methanol in seconds.

The new charger will be on sale before the end of the first half of Toshiba's current financial year, which is the period from April to September. The launch, when it comes, will represent a roughly 6-month delay for the product, which was originally promised in the first quarter of this year.

Following the launch of the portable charger Toshiba will look at commercialising DMFCs for mobile phones and laptop computers, it said.

Toshiba is targeting sales of ¥160 billion (£1 billion) for its fuel cell business in 2015.

No other details on the device were immediately available.

See also:

Toshiba to release fast-charging fuel cell

Toshiba media player runs on fuel cell