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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?

"What we have proven with our recent prototypes of embedded fuel cell technology, in both phones and laptops, is that just as smartphones, tablets, etc. have challenged the way we communicate, fuel cells are the challenger technology to existing power sources, and that's what makes this so exciting. The consumer applications for a portable power source are endless," Hughes said.

Power options

The main advantage of hydrogen fuel cells is that they are immune to grid outages, extend the lifetime of lithium ion batteries from days to weeks, and can use a fuel that is practically inexhaustible and freely available as a gas in the air around us.

Fuel-cell powered iPhone

Intelligent Energy has managed to produce a fuel cell exactly the same size as the lithium ion battery it comes with, but with a week's worth of hydrogen fuel refilled through the headphone jack. (Source: Apple)

"Hydrogen fuel-cell technologies are not confined by grids, battery life and range anxiety," Hughes said. "And they can be integrated into many different technologies. Hydrogen fuel-cell power systems are field proven in the aerospace, automotive, consumer electronics, and distributed power and generation markets."

Intelligent Energy has accelerated a 2,000 strong patent portfolio over the last few years as it perfected the functioning and made the fuel cell affordable for use alone, or in combination with lithium-ion batteries to make sure they always stay charged. The company has penetrated several market segments and is planning to supply fuel-cell solutions at every scale over the next few years.

"We have figured out a way to make our fuel-cell technology commercially viable at a lower cost of ownership and have created a proprietary, very compact and powerful technology," Hughes noted. The company uses a 'design once, deploy many times' business model to gain scale in markets. "For instance powering thousands of telecom towers in India is a big part of this plan, as well as our work in automotive where we already serve nearly 25 per cent of the global car OEMs each making more than 1,000,000 cars each per year, and are now passing on the benefits of scale to our other markets. The more use of our technology, the more we can drive prices down through economies of scale," Hughes added.

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