The dream of using a direct methanol fuel cell for use with notebook PCs came a little closer recently, when NEC announced that it had succeeded in reducing the size of a prototype of such a cell. A direct methanol fuel cell, which mixes methanol with air and water to produce electrical power are regarded in many quarters as the potential successor to lithium-ion and other batteries used in notebook PCs and other such devices. The current prototype is some 20 percent smaller than the company's previous prototype and has an output density of 70 milliwatts per square centimeter. However, NEC say that we are unlikely to see the cell available commercially for at least another two years.