For people fed up with their mobile telephone or iPod batteries running out, Japan's Toshiba Corp. announced Thursday the launch of a portable fuel-cell that can power up digital gadgets on the move.

With an injection of methanol, the fuel-cell generates electricity through a chemical reaction with oxygen to recharge mobile digital electronic devices via a USB cable.

The high-tech giant, which sees a bright future for fuel cells, said battery exhaustion had become a "major concern" due to the rising power consumption of mobile electronic devices.

It said the palm-sized fuel-cell, called Dynario, "delivers almost instant refuelling that untethers electrical equipment from AC adapters and power outlets."

A single refill of methanol from a dedicated cartridge can generate enough power to charge two mobile telephones, said Toshiba, which describes itself as a world leader in the development of fuel-cells for handheld gadgets.

The company will put 3,000 of the devices on sale in Japan through its direct-order website at a price of 29,800 yen (326 dollars) each. The fuel cartridges cost an additional 3,150 yen for a set of five.

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