We keep hearing about how fuel cells can replace batteries, well how about replacing them with little engines? REALLY little, teeny, tiny little engines. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels are really energy dense which is why all of those batteries and fuel cells are having a hard time serving as substitutes since you need a lot more hydrogen or whatever else to make up for a small amount of gasoline.
Building on that idea, these guys at the Cambridge Combustion Research Centre and the Centre for Micro-Engineering and Nanotechnology at the University of Birmingham are developing these incredibly small engines. These engines can last 20 times longer than a battery and have a quick change fuel capsule. Potential uses include medical devices, military equipment, PDAs, notebook computers, mobile phones and toys.
The engines are 5x15x3 mm in size and produce 11.2 watts at 50,000 rpm. Very, very cool.
Thanks, Mark, for the pointer!