In almost every sector, talk about environmental efficiencies, improvements and advancements seems to be the order of the day as we work towards ensuring the world stays around a little bit longer. For our part we’ve very proud of our green, state-of-the-art data centre.

So, it should perhaps be no surprise that news reaches me of a potential methane-powered laptop battery. The reality it appears is not far away. Harvard University researchers have announced their advances in fuel cell technology have put them a step nearer a full prototype.

Don’t get too excited though. The researchers announced this week they have made a miniature methane-powered solid-oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that has an operating temperature of less than 500°C. Apparently, this is a marked improvement of the usual 800°C but is short of the 300°C range which could see them used in transportation vehicles and portable electronics. The key benefit is that methane requires less processing than hydrogen, another fuel used for SOFCs, while SOFCs are more eco-friendly than traditional methods as their waste is little more than water.

The technology is likely to eventually become more than just science fiction. Earlier this month cell company Lilliputian Systems announced that it had entered into an investment and manufacturing deal with chipmaker Intel to help it bring to market a butane-cartridge powered USB charger fuel cell.

Should more money be spent by technology companies into projects like this?