Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Patent on pump for fuel cell -- US 6,699,021

The application for US 6,699,021 is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/717,754, filed on Nov. 21, 2000, entitled PASSIVELY PUMPED LIQUID FEED FUEL CELL SYSTEM, which issued as U.S. Pat. No. 6,645,655 on Nov. 11, 2003.

All claims of the '021 patent are directed to a "fuel pump." The first claim of US '021 states:

A fuel pump for use in a fuel cell system comprising:

one or more inlets through which fuel is received from a fuel source;

a pumping chamber coupled to said one or more inlets;

a gas-driven actuator coupled to said pumping chamber and powered by a gas produced by an electrochemical reaction within a fuel cell, said gas-driven actuator being pivotally mounted on a base, and said pumping chamber is enclosed by said actuator, said base, and a pivoting element, and which said one or more inlets admit fuel and/or water or a fuel/water mixture to said pumping chamber when said actuator pivots, whereby the amount of gas produced is directly proportional to demand for power from said fuel cell; and

one or more outlets, coupled to said pumping chamber, through which fuel is driven from said pumping chamber to said fuel cell.

Dependent claim 6 gets into the realm of MEMS:

The fuel pump, as defined in claim 1, wherein said fuel pump is constructed using micro-electromechanical (MEMS) fabrication techniques.

None of the claims use the word "self-regulating."

from Fuel Cell Works:

U.S. Patent No. 6,699,021 is owned by MTI Micro Fuel Cells Inc., of Albany. This invention allows a fuel pump of a fuel cell to be self-regulating by utilizing carbon dioxide, which is a waste product of the the fuel cell, as a regulating mechanism.

MTI Micro, a subsidiary of Mechanical Technology Inc. of Latham, develops and manufactures micro-fuel cells for portable devices. These fuel cells are intended for use in powering hand-held electronic devices such as personal digital assistants and smart phones.

UPDATE. Sept. 23, 2005 -->

Manhattan Scientifics, a fuel cell alternative energy company, announced today that it has been issued a key patent in Korea. The patent, No. 0509573 "Surface Replica Fuel Cell For Micro Fuel Cell Electrical Power Pack," addresses key aspects of the company's micro fuel cell invention designed to power portable electronics such as cellular telephones.

The patent covers the placement of a flat planar fuel cell in a thin, scalable format to power portable devices such as cellular phones. This technology is unlike conventional fuel cells, which are stacked arrays. The patented design will enable economic use of thin, flexible layered materials when compared with the rigid, bolted, thick stack structure of conventional fuel cells.

Marvin Maslow, CEO of Manhattan Scientifics, said, "Though our micro fuel cell is not yet commercially feasible, we continue our effort toward commercialization and future revenue as a result of our ownership of protective patents. The patent is a result of work by micro fuel cell scientist Robert G. Hockaday."


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