A fuel cell claimed to provide twice as much energy as existing DSLR rechargeable battery packs has moved closer to becoming a commercial reality.

An unnamed camera maker has signed an agreement to develop the technology for DSLRs, according to MTI Micro, the maker of the Mobion-branded fuel cell.

The system uses methanol and is designed to replace Lithium-ion and similar rechargeable battery systems.

The US manufacturer said it has signed an agreement with a ?global Japanese developer of digital cameras?, to evaluate the ?feasibility, development and production of Mobion products?.

Unveiled as a prototype earlier this year the Mobion camera grip uses a Direct Methanol Fuel Cell and is designed to work like a battery pack grip on today?s digital SLRs.

Its maker claims it can be refilled with methanol for ?instant power?, thereby allowing photographers ?the freedom to use the camera any time, anywhere, without having to recharge from a wall outlet?.

A spokesman added: ?Today?s DSLR cameras are increasingly being purchased by average consumers. This new prototype addresses the power demands of this widening market segment.?

The manufacturer claims that, in 2007, 6m of all the DSLRs shipped were compatible with the new fuel cell.

Fuel cell industry reports suggest that products using the technology could go on sale within two years.

MTI Micro claims that methanol fuel cell cartridges and systems have been ruled safe for airline passengers to carry as hand luggage. The US Department of Transportation has yet to confirm this to AP.

Mobion fuel cell