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  • 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 and Dynario 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.

    Source: Gizmag
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Apple Patents Outline Portable Hydrogen Fuel Cells, Power Devices for "Weeks" started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. dsg's Avatar
      dsg -
      Hydrogen is highly unsafe at the moment if you think the Australian iPhone incident was bad wait for a hydrogen incident
    1. rabbit_'s Avatar
      rabbit_ -
      Boom boom in my pocket
    1. baRRy boRRis's Avatar
      baRRy boRRis -
      So why did we stop using hydrogen for power? . . . . . Oh yeah the Hindenburg

      But seriously, hydrogen is the future once it can be efficiently and easily contained.
    1. tudtran's Avatar
      tudtran -
      Sound like cancer
    1. JoYsTiK's Avatar
      JoYsTiK -
      Nobody should be allowed to patent anything without a working prototype. This is only more food for the patent trolls to further slow down develpment of technology in this area for the future.
    1. Taranis17's Avatar
      Taranis17 -
      That's gotta be the most idiotic idea I've heard of for an iDevice - swappable hydrogen fuel cells. Really?

      This sounds much more viable (and likely):
      Nanogenerators powered by your heartbeat could replace batteries in five years, say chemists
    1. Senyaichiya's Avatar
      Senyaichiya -
      Quote Originally Posted by baRRy boRRis View Post
      So why did we stop using hydrogen for power? . . . . . Oh yeah the Hindenburg

      But seriously, hydrogen is the future once it can be efficiently and easily contained.
      The Hindenburg used hydrogen to fly/float/whatever the correct term is not for power.
    1. babyydaveyy's Avatar
      babyydaveyy -
      Lol for some reason switching the hydrogen fuel cells puts an image of iron man in my head when he's switching out the palladium chip from that mini arc reactor in his chest for a fresh one
    1. havoc0351's Avatar
      havoc0351 -
      Why isn't Apple looking into nuclear reactors for their idevice's? Obviously it's the better choice since it will increase the battery life one thousand fold over this hydrogen idea! Apple is just getting lazy now...
    1. Cellular's Avatar
      Cellular -
      Never did agree with the unchangable battery on MacBooks...get you to spend a lot to replace it :/
    1. unison999's Avatar
      unison999 -
      compressed gas in your pocket near your genitals... Yeah thats a good idea, especially when it burst it'll freeze and break off.

      Apple needs to patent iEunuch, because that is exactly what will happen.
    1. virtualcappy's Avatar
      virtualcappy -
      It isnt necessarily compressed gas. Metal hydrides are a better way to go. And lithium ion batteries are extremely dangerous - they've been engineered to be safe but these things are by no means benign. I don't think it's the safety, I think it's cost that makes this so unlikely. Plus, there's really no drive for this technology to make it worthwhile - you have to be addressing a need. Anything beyond an ~18 hour capacity (we're already there, or close depending on how you use hour phone) is of marginal utility. We sleep, why shouldn't our portable computing devices?

      I think the idea is pretty ridiculous (though not as ridiculous as the idea of 30 million little nuclear waste generators) - maybe Apple just wants to be perceived as more innovators than they really are by applying for these patents. They've given nothing new to smartphones as far as tech, just perfected what was out there.
    1. steve-z17's Avatar
      steve-z17 -
      We all learned from Terminator 3 that Hydrogen Fuel Cells can be extremely dangerous!
    1. ohthatguyagain's Avatar
      ohthatguyagain -
      So, batteries have come a long way since the 70's - and not just consumer batteries. The problem is that most battery patents are bought and shelved by oil companies. Believe me, when we switch to fully electric vehicles, Exxon and shell will still be fueling us... Check out the silver nitrate batteries - insane....