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  • Future Devices to Be Powered By Liquidmetal Fuel Cells?


    Details of Apple's plans for the Liquidmetal alloy it licensed earlier this year are beginning to take shape. Rather than a radical new computer or mobile device case, though, it's possible that one of the first uses of the light, strong alloy will be in fuel cells that will replace the batteries of future iPhones and MacBooks. Cult of Mac has discovered a patent granted to Apple for fuel cell collector plates made of Liquidmetal, raising the possibility of mobile devices that can run for weeks without refueling.

    Fuel cells take a fuel like hydrogen gas and use an oxidant like the oxygen in the air to create a chemical reaction that separates electrons from the fuel onto collector plates to produce electricity, water and heat. Spacecraft and satellites use fuel cells for onboard power, and the potential to use them to power electronic devices has been recognized for some time. MTI MicroFuel Cells is working on a "fuel cell chip" called Mobion that uses methanol as a fuel and could fit in the palm of your hand. Apple themselves started investing in fuel cell developers as early as 2003 as an alternative power source for notebooks.

    The new patent, "Current collector plates of bulk-solidifying amorphous alloys," describes using an alloy rather than metal, nickel, or carbon nanotube materials which are commonly used for the anode and electrode plates. Liquidmetal is the trademarked name for the metallic glass - a type of "amorphous alloy" - developed by Liquidmetal Technologies. Plates need to be durable, resistant to degradation in the harsh chemical environment inside a fuel cell, able to be manufactured with a high tolerance, and strong but not brittle. Liquidmetal uniquely satisfies all these requirements, and could make a fuel cell that is cheaper and longer lasting than current designs.

    When Apple licensed the technology back in August, it was commonly believed that the material - which is as strong as titanium but as moldable as plastic - would be used for exotic case designs. That may still be the case, but it does appear that Apple has plans for fuel cells capable of powering a mobile device for up to 30 days, or a notebook for almost 20 hours. The exclusive license agreement means that no other electronics manufacturer can use the material, giving Apple a potential early lead in the technology.

    Source: Cult of Mac
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Future Devices to Be Powered By Liquidmetal Fuel Cells? started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. garstie's Avatar
      garstie -
      Wow!!!!!Can't wait
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      This would be nice to see, but like most Apple patents, if we do see them it won't be for a very long time
    1. jvoni's Avatar
      jvoni -
      Cool? Really? That's what people think? Am I the only one that sees the other byproduct other than heat and electricity? Great! My phone will not die for a long long time.... the wetspot in my pocket might be enough to make me not want it though! It also gives off WATER from the fuel cell. So unless I want my iPhone or Laptop to have a colostomy bag, I really don't see how this is useful in mobile electronics.
    1. MikeThomson's Avatar
      MikeThomson -
      are these fuel cells rechargeable?
    1. unklbyl's Avatar
      unklbyl -
      HELLO!
      The next app for the iphone 6 pictured here is you get to choose the flavor of the water that comes out, or you can have it broken down into it's basic elements so you can be in an oxygen enriched area as you telephone!
      Where have you guys been?
      Bythe way, there is a thread about the supposed iphone 5, and a breakdown at iclairified.
      If you smiled, you know what to do.
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      So are we going to have to unhook our furnace and plug in our iPhones to charge them?
    1. coolguy742's Avatar
      coolguy742 -
      WOW, that would be great an iPod touch that didn't need recharged for a week...
    1. delusion950's Avatar
      delusion950 -
      nicee
    1. iPod's Avatar
      iPod -
      I still hope they use it for the cases for the devices. I can't stand the chrome it gets scratched so easily!
    1. piston597's Avatar
      piston597 -
      Use the liquidmetal as a casing for he device, and with the amount of space it saves for the battery why not add like 2 more and make it last a VERRY I MEAN VERY long time, Apple will probably mop the floor with their competitors if this comes out... I always have to recharge any smartphone I ever have at the end of the day, gets annoying when you forget one day...
    1. GoldenTequila's Avatar
      GoldenTequila -
      Hmmm, it sounds nice, but it concerns me too. It says it uses oxygen in the air. What happenes if millions of people carry this phone all over the world? We are already seeing negative effects of global warming, and reduced oxygen would only make it worse. If a number of people have this phone in a confined space, would that reduce oxygen for the people? Hmmmmmmmm.
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by GoldenTequila View Post
      Hmmm, it sounds nice, but it concerns me too. It says it uses oxygen in the air. What happenes if millions of people carry this phone all over the world? We are already seeing negative effects of global warming, and reduced oxygen would only make it worse. If a number of people have this phone in a confined space, would that reduce oxygen for the people? Hmmmmmmmm.
      Probably not. I don't believe in global warming either. So, this is a win other than the fact it runs on gas and emits water.
    1. ecd5000's Avatar
      ecd5000 -
      Great just wait until these things overheat and blow up spreading mercury all Over the user. Just another way apple is the leading cause of cancer.


      Sent from my iPhone using ModMyi
    1. GellBrake'rrrr's Avatar
      GellBrake'rrrr -
      Quote Originally Posted by GoldenTequila View Post
      Hmmm, it sounds nice, but it concerns me too. It says it uses oxygen in the air. What happenes if millions of people carry this phone all over the world? We are already seeing negative effects of global warming, and reduced oxygen would only make it worse. If a number of people have this phone in a confined space, would that reduce oxygen for the people? Hmmmmmmmm.

      Deep Thoughts......... By: Goldentequila
    1. bigboyz's Avatar
      bigboyz -
      Sounds good! Won't hold my breath but that kind of battery life would come with a hefty price...$$ Then on the other hand, no other company can use the technology due to patent infringement. Sounds like Apple will have quite the advanced lead as they do with retina display. :]
    1. piston597's Avatar
      piston597 -
      Quote Originally Posted by GoldenTequila View Post
      Hmmm, it sounds nice, but it concerns me too. It says it uses oxygen in the air. What happenes if millions of people carry this phone all over the world? We are already seeing negative effects of global warming, and reduced oxygen would only make it worse. If a number of people have this phone in a confined space, would that reduce oxygen for the people? Hmmmmmmmm.
      I'm pretty sure it wont be using significant amount of oxygen that the whole world will suffocate...
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by piston597 View Post
      I'm pretty sure it wont be using significant amount of oxygen that the whole world will suffocate...
      Especially considering there are a million (much larger) fuel cells out there.
    1. kuhndsn's Avatar
      kuhndsn -
      Great now Airport security will ban all electronic devices. Damn technology! LOL
    1. Jahooba's Avatar
      Jahooba -
      "The exclusive license agreement means that no other electronics manufacturer can use the material"
      Dang, this means Apple can charge whatever they want. They'll probably look to make a 70-80% profit on every device sold

      Quote Originally Posted by GoldenTequila View Post
      If a number of people have this phone in a confined space, would that reduce oxygen for the people?
      If you're in a air-tight room with a bunch of other people, the small trickle of air that your phone is consuming is the least of your worries!
    1. wolverinemarky's Avatar
      wolverinemarky -
      That could be pretty sweet not having to charge my iphone for a month or so