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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?

Another boost to the company's portfolio of patents and ability to scale its fuel cell technology came when it acquired BIC's (yes, the pen and lighter maker) fuel cell operation which added unique capabilities to Intelligent Energy.

"Our acquisition earlier this year of BIC's embedded fuel cell and disposable cartridge technology and intellectual property (IP) also enabled us to accelerate our development of embedded hydrogen fuel cell technology. This was also a key step in realising our vision for universal wireless power and removing power limitations of today," Hughes indicated.

You can buy external Intelligent Energy fuel cells, called Upps in Apple' Stores, which can recharge your iPhone up to five time and of course the company is trying to sell Apple on including a fuel cell powered iPhone in the future. However, as you might expect Intelligent Energy declined to reveal any ongoing negotiations or speculations regarding which company will come out with the first fuel-cell powered smartphone in late 2017.

Fuel-cell powered laptop prototype

Clear model image of fuel-cell (behind display) powered laptop prototype

Intelligent Energy, which began as a NASA spinoff circa 2008, now has over 400 employees, over $400 million from investors, and occupies a science park once used by Rolls-Royce and is headed by CEO Henri Winand, a former Rolls-Royce engineer. It has proven its fuel-cell technology for automobiles by powering special taxis at the London Olympics in 2012, and analysts report significant cash flow of $21 million in 2014 and as much as $157 million in 2015 albeit with a $78 million overall loss due to research and development expenditures. Suzuki is reported to put it in the red in 2016 with its first fuel-cell powered car. Intelligent Energy is using the ARM model to sell its IP to Suzuki and others rather than do its own manufacturing of most products in the future.

- R. Colin Johnson
??EE Times

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