Power Electronics

Safety Certification for Methanol Micro Fuel Cells Available

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) recently announced the publication of a document covering the safety certification of methanol-fueled micro fuel cells for use in information technology equipment (ITE). The document is titled an “Outline of Investigation, Subject 2265A, Hand-Held or Hand-Transportable Fuel Cell Power Units with Disposable Methanol Fuel Cartridges for Use in Original Equipment Manufacturer's Information Technology Equipment.”

With this document, UL can now immediately provide safety certification services for micro fuel cells intended for industrial or commercial ITE while a Standard to cover a wider range of products is under development. An Outline of Investigation is a published document that contains UL's requirements for certifying a product when a published standard is not available. UL initiated the Outline at the request of micro fuel cell manufacturers that are on a fast track to bring their products to market and to help improve the safety of this emerging technology.

Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that produce electricity directly from a fuel without combustion. An increasingly important class of these products, the micro fuel cell, is intended to augment, or in some cases replace, batteries in equipment such as laptop computers, cell phones and other portable information technology equipment.

The ongoing standard-development effort ANSI/UL 2265, Hand-Held or Hand-Transportable Fuel Cell Power Units with Fuel Containers, is planned for publication in 2005. This standard will not only include the requirements contained in Subject 2265A, but also will have additional requirements for stand-alone and general consumer products.

The Outline of Investigation for Subject 2265A is available for purchase through Comm-2000 at www.comm-2000.com. For questions or to start a certification project, please contact UL’s Dennis A. Bernardi at 919-641-5408.

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