Toshiba has announced the development of two fuel cell units that will spell an end to short battery lives for MP3 players.

The new fuel cell units have an output power of 100mW and 300mW and have been applied to a flash-memory-based digital audio player and an HDD-based digital audio player, respectively.

The 100mW unit is similar in shape and size to a pack of gum, at a compact W23mm x L75mm x D10mm, and can power the flash-based player for approximately 35 hours on a single 3.5ml charge of highly concentrated methanol, the fuel that drives the electricity-producing chemical reaction in the fuel cell. The 300mW unit is W60mm x L75mm x D10mm and delivers enough power to keep an HDD-based audio player running for approximately 60 hours on a single 10ml charge.

Both prototype players include components related to the testing and, including the fuel cell units, measure W35mm x L110mm x D20mm (flash memory) and W65mm x L125mm x D27mm (HDD). These sizes can be reduced substantially by removing the extra components and applying optimal design for commercial products.