British Company Develops Hydrogen Fuel Cell to Power iPhone

Thanks to Hempenearth for sharing this link.

A article in the Telegraph reports that British company called Intelligent Energy has developed a new phone battery which is actually a fuel cell, that they say can power an iPhone 6 for a week. The company reports they are working with Apple on the technology, and say the technology could be in the market within two years.

Henri Winand, the CEO of Intelligent Energy tells the Telegraph, “We have now managed to make a fuel cell so thin we can fit it to the existing chassis without alterations and retaining the rechargeable battery. This is a major step because if you are moving to a new technology you have to give people a path they are comfortable with.”

The battery will need to be recharged via a disposable cartridge that would contain ‘hydrogen releasing powder’ that could charge a phone for a week. The cost is described as being the ‘price of a latte’.

While this might be an interesting technical achievement, I’m not really sure that this will have mass market appeal. There may be situations where something like this might make sense — for example if you were away for a reliable power source for extended periods of time, but if you have to pay, say, five dollars per week to charge this battery it would be far more expensive to run your phone than charging from an electric outlet. In 2012, CNet estimated that it costs only 41 cents per year to charge an iPhone 5.

  • Omega Z

    From the article in the link
    “Intelligent Energy’s technology doesn’t require high pressure hydrogen storage and can be refueled by ->swapping out self-contained modules.<-"

    Tesla has tried the battery switch out. It hasn't been well received. Probably this approach will soon be phased out by Tesla.
    People are all about convenience & simplicity. They really don't care for the simple process of filling up with gasoline. It's only the fact that they have no choice that it works. Probably many would have issues with a simple tablet/pill needing dropped in the tank.

  • wpj

    My friend helped set this company up- fortunately it has changed considerably since he quit due to “goings on” which he discovered!

  • uDevil

    I would like not to think about the charge state of my phone. Cell phone manufacturers promised methanol-based fuel cells for phones “next year” quite some time ago. Here is one example:

    • GreenWin

      Wait just a minute uDevil. Are you saying a big, public, high tech company like Panasonic Inc. LIED to us about marketing these FC-cell phones? Panasonic is perpetrating a skam or fraud on shareholders and the unsuspecting public? This is a job for a skepto-hero Gary Watkins!

    • Albert D. Kallal

      Actually, a number of companies were planning to sell
      methanol fuel cells. They planned to sell re-fills at corner stores etc.

      The problem is that airlines were not going to allow
      these liquid based systems on planes. This issue thus quite much killed the viability
      of this technology.

      Even today, you can’t take your own water bottle on board
      (and they force you to dump out even ones that you purchased in the airport
      lobby). So even a simple water you purchase is not allowed past the secure
      areas in an airport. Once past security, then you can purchase a simple bottle
      of water.

      I would have to assume these folks found a way around this
      security issue, but I not sure if gas based hydrogen going to be accepted by
      the airlines/security anymore then the ethanol fuel cells that was being
      considered prior to 9/11.

      Unless airlines/airport security will allow these
      devices, then I can’t see apple or anyone else adopting such a technology.

      Albert D. Kallal
      Edmonton, Alberta Canada

  • GreenWin

    Not a revolution in any sense as the toy industry has been making H2 “fuel cells” for nearly a decade. For example, Horizon has been making the “H-Cell” for RC applications. Current Horizon fuel cells use a powdered hydride in the form of c-cell batteries called “Hydrostik Pro.” It would appear Intelligent Energy has managed only to reduce the form factor to match the size of a iPhone Li-ion battery.

    Why carry around recharging hydride containers when it is cheaper and easier to find one of billions of electrical outlets — or a camper solar cell?

  • gdaigle

    No airlines would knowingly allow a hydrogen fuel cell in the passenger compartment. It is potentially an explosive.

  • Can they make a fuel cell that could power a drone? For the most amazing drone video, indoors and outdoors, see:

    How about making drones out of super-light materials, nano-structures made of ceramic?


    These structures can be made of alumina and might be useful in making indestructible E-Cat tubes.

    • GreenWin

      Nice work Julia! While Prof Greer’s lab works on structural nano-materials, LENR may benefit from metal-free “carbocatalysts.” Should these materials be able to reduce H2 as Pt, Ni, Ti appear to, the high temp melting point of graphene could make an ideal lattice for LENRs. Here is a suitably geeky but helpful review:

  • Obvious

    I am amazed that there is any spare room in the phone to add anything.

  • One big interest would be for travellers and safety phones in mountain (provided there is network, but there is more and more, because rescue team understood that VHF is too expensive).

  • Andrew

    It would have its uses as a backup after the battery was dead. People that remember to charge their phones may only have to fill the fuel cell a couple times a year.