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Tag Archives: Fuel-Cells

Tiny Fuel-Cell Can Keep Devices Charged For Weeks

By David Ponce

Batteries are great, but their own technology isn’t progressing as fast as the one they usually power. While smartphones are getting increasingly fast and small, batteries have pretty much plateaued. So that’s why we welcome solutions like the above pocket-sized fuel cell that is allegedly capable of charging an iPhone 10 to 14 times on a single cartridge of butane. We use the iPhone as a measuring stick here, but the device will use a USB connection so anything that uses that can be charged with it. The fact that it’s cartridge based means it can be taken with you in an airplane, so you might be able to make it through those long flights even if your seats don’t feature a plug. It’s made by Liliputian Systems but will be sold by Brookstone and labeled with that name. And we don’t really know for how much though we’re told they’ll be available “later this year.”

VIA [ CNet ]

Toshiba Fuel Cell Charger Now Available

fuelcell
By Evan Ackerman

We’ve been hearing for a long long long long loooooooong time now about how fuel cells are going to be the batteries of the future, since they’re instantly rechargeable with a shot of booze. But like so many promises (::cough:: ::cough::) they haven’t quite materialized yet. Toshiba, though, has just released an actual fuel cell charger in Japan. Unlike the Medis fuel cell charger that we reviewed back in February, Toshiba’s Dynario charger can be topped of with concentrated methanol, which is the whole point of fuel cells… You can just keep refilling them. In about 20 seconds, 50 mL of methanol reacts with oxygen in the air to charge a battery in the device with enough juice to recharge two mobile phones via USB.

As cool as the Dynario is, it’s still very much a first stab at commercializing this kind of technology, nowhere near Samsung’s fantastical 160 hour laptop fuel cell. Only 3000 Dynario units are for sale, and so far, they’re only available in Japan… Toshiba will see how well they work out before committing to further distribution. If you want one, you can find them online at Toshiba’s Shop1048 for $328, plus another $34 for 5 cartridges. Is the neatness worth the cost and inefficiency? No, but for the sake of the technology, I hope these sell like hotcakes. Hotcakes filled with concentrated alcohol. Mmmmmm…

[ Press Release ] VIA [ Engadget ]

OhGizmo Review: Medis Xtreme Fuel Cell Charger

medis1

By Evan Ackerman

We’ve heard it all before: fuel cells are going to power the devices of the future. They’re going to put out more power for longer and be instantly rechargeable with disposable cartridges. Sounds great… But obviously, this hasn’t happened yet. At CTIA last year, though, we were introduced to a company called Medis, who is producing a portable fuel cell charger that you can actually buy right now. It’s between 25 and 40 bucks on Amazon, and we’ll let you know whether this new technology is worth the money in our review, after the jump.Continue Reading

Medis Portable Fuel Cell Charger

By Evan Ackerman

We’ve been waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) for fuel cell technology to become commercially viable. Now Medis technology has the first generation of their portable, disposable, and relatively cheap fuel cell charger ready to juice up your gadgets, and they were showing it off at the CTIA Wireless Expo here in San Francisco.

The Medis 24-7 Power Pack is portable power system designed to keep your handheld devices operational while you are on the go. The Power Pack has enough power to drive many handheld devices when the battery is nearly depleted and it will also function as a portable charger.

The 24-7 Power Pack provides sufficient energy to provide up to 30 hours of talk time to an average mobile phone or 60-80 hours of play time for an average iPod. The power is sufficient (1 watt)) to operate, and charge, multiple times, a wide range of the standard and advanced portable electronic devices in the market today.

In its current incarnation, the power pack itself is not directly rechargeable… You use it up, and then recycle the old one (the box it comes in is also a mailing container) and buy a new one. It’s not the most efficient (or the sleekest) system, but it’s a good start. You can buy different adapter tips to charge a wide variety of gadgets, and a supplementary battery cable helps pump up the output enough to charge higher drain electronics like iPhones. Once you engage the fuel system in each cell (by squeezing the unit), you’ve got about 3 months before it goes dead on you. Un-squeezed, it’s got a shelf life of years.

The Medis Power Pack is certainly a first-gen product, but you can buy it now and put it to work for $40 for the starter kit and a bit over $20 for the replacement cells. Medis has some fairly ambitious plans for their product; in the next few years, they’re hoping to introduce replaceable fuel cartridges (as opposed to recyclable cells) as well as a system designed to provide 8 hours of power for laptops. Personally, I’m looking forward to something a bit more, um, svelte.

[ Medis Power Pack ]

HydroPak Consumer Fuel Cell Is Just Around The Corner

HydroPak Fuel Cell (Image courtesy Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies) By Andrew Liszewski

Fuel Cell technologies definitely hold a lot of promise, but it looks like the first devices to hit the market are probably going to only appeal to early adopters. The HydroPak from Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies can produce up to 25 watts of power with a combination of replaceable solid fuel cartridges and about a pint of water. That equals about 270 watt-hours of energy which should be enough to recharge a full size laptop about 5 times.

And while the HydroPak produces no exhaust and runs nearly silent, there are unfortunately a few downsides. For one, the half-pound replacement fuel cartridges cost about $20. According to Peter Glaskowski over at Crave, that means a single kilowatt hour from the HydroPak costs $74, where as the same kilowatt hour from a wall outlet costs 10 cents. The HydroPak’s $400 price tag isn’t that expensive, and the unit only weighs about 4 pounds, but for the same amount of money you can buy a considerably more powerful gas generator if you’re looking to use the device as a source of reliable backup power.

Finally, while the HydroPak produces no exhaust, the fuel cartridges use sodium-borohydride which is actually a mildly hazardous chemical. As the fuel is used, the byproducts of the reaction are returned to the sealed cartridge so it should be safe, but there’s always the risk of something happening, particularly in the hands of Joe-consumer. However, there always has to be a first generation of every product, and Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies hopes to have the HydroPak available to consumers sometime this year, which is an important first step.

[ HydroPak Portable Power Generator ] VIA [ Crave ]

Samsung Laptop Fuel Cell Slims Down, Spruces Up

Samsung Fuel Cell

By Evan Ackerman

The methanol fuel cell that Samsung has been working on for a while now is looking a lot sexier than it used to. Samsung says that it’s able to run a laptop for eight hours a day, five days a week, for a month without refueling. And when you do need more juice, just feed it a new methanol cartridge and it’s ready to go, no waiting.

Although Samsung has obviously made an effort to integrate the fuel cell unit with the laptop itself, it’s equally obvious that (in its current incarnation) it’s not really practical to do this. Why not keep it separate and just use a cord? Hopefully, the reason is that by the time it’s ready for the market, it’ll be no larger than a conventional battery. Hopefully.

VIA [ AVING ]