Apple Patents Outline Portable Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Could Power Devices for "Weeks"
Apple wants to power your mobile devices with hydrogen fuel cells according to two patents titled “Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device
,” and “Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device.
While portable hydrogen fuel cell systems are nothing new, they are barely portable enough to fit inside of a Macbook let alone and of Apple’s iDevices. However, the patents in question detail a hydrogen fuel cell system much smaller than the MINIPAK
fuel systems. The patent claims the technology could power portable electronics for days or even weeks.”
Apple would achieve the smaller fuel cell size by implementing a system that would be capable of providing power and receiving power from a rechargeable battery. This would eliminate “the need for a bulky heaving batter within the fuel cell system” greatly reducing its size, weight and cost. The ability to instantly swap out a full fuel cartridge would forgo the need to wait by an outlet during the charging process as well. Apple hasn’t allowed consumers the luxury of swapping out batteries in quite some time, but it appears the prospect of hydrogen fuel cells is at least making Apple reconsider their no-swap stance.
Battery technology is an odd duck in the fast-paced world of modern computing and electronics. For all intents and purposes the lithium-ion battery technology so popular in today’s devices hasn't changed much since the 1970s. No real evolutionary steps have been made. Scientists have tested batteries powered by small amounts of decaying radioactive material that promise to last for over a decade without a charge. But, no matter how safe or harmless they truly are, try selling somebody a radioactive anything that fits in their pocket. Hydrogen fuel cells have been talked about for many years now as well, but nothing practical or affordable has shown up in the consumer realm as a result of ongoing research.
Someday charging iDevices, laptops and other electronics will be obsolete. Until then we’ll hover around outlets like starved hyenas waiting for the lion to abandon its kill.