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Fuel cells for handheld electronics

Geoff Gasior
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Just when you thought you were cutting edge with your rechargeable lithium ion battery, they come along with something way cooler – a hydrogen fuel cell.

The plan is to replace rechargeable batteries in mobile devices with a miniature version of the hydrogen fuel cell used to power electric cars. A superefficient solar cell built into the devices would recharge the miniature fuel cell.

[snip]

“The decisive factor,” said Christopher Hebling, head of the Micro-Energy Technology group at the ISE, “is that the device can run on solar power alone even under low lighting levels. At a normal workplace, you have only 3 percent of the brightness of summer sunshine. Even down to a level of 1 percent, the electrical voltage provided by our solar module remains virtually constant. In conventional cell types, it would have long since broken down.”

Not sure how feasible this really is, as everything I’ve heard from the people that I know over at Ballard is that fuel cells really aren’t ideal small devices, but it’s still an interesting idea.

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