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Fuel cell tech delivers week-long power to phones, laptops

Posted: 27 Aug 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Intelligent Energy? fuel cell? consumer electronics? battery? iPhone?

Fuel cells, which are able to convert hydrogen fuel into electricity, are making a comeback. In fact, Intelligent Energy Ltd has been silently expediting fuel-cell development, for everything from cars to smartphones.

Intelligent Energy proved the concept recently by showing Apple iPhone 6 and Macbook Air retrofits with a fuel cell exactly the same size as its current lithium-ion battery, but which energises the devices for a week between refuelling.

The world has been "waiting for an 'unforeseen leap' in battery technology. That leap may not be far off, but it isn't the battery that will revolutionise power in consumer electronics," said Intelligent Energy. "We, at Intelligent Energy, believe that the development of embedded fuel cells in smartphones...could be refuelled with hydrogen gas from a recyclable canister and power the phone on its own."

Fuel cell

If Intelligent Energy has its way you will never see this "Always in the Red" icon again on your iPhone6, or at most once a week, with its identically sized fuel cell to your existing lithium-ion battery. (Source: Intelligent Energy)

Daring to think small

"Advances in fuel cell technology have allowed it to be scaled for usage at the consumer, automobile and infrastructure levels," said Julian Hughes, group business development director & managing director, consumer electronics division at Intelligent Energy. He claimed hydrogen fuel cells are perfect for everything from grid storage to powering automobiles, laptops, smartphones and more.

Intelligent Energy fuel cell

Intelligent Energy has fuel cell solutions for any sized battery application, from grid to automobiles to smartphones, here an in-between suitcase-sized solution. (Source: Intelligent Energy)

The company started with larger applications, and already has installations worldwide, for instance to power cell tower base stations at night, and during grid outages, in India and soon in Suzuki automobiles due out in 2016. However, its recent prototypes for the iPhone 6 and Macbook Air laptops was their most challenging applications, which they believe is ready for commercialisation by 2017.

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