Battery life is a never-ending battle for me with all of my mobile devices: Laptop, Tablet, Smart phone, bike computer, Kindle Reader, Bluetooth headset, etc. It seems like I’m constantly having to charge up my battery at the most inconvenient times. When I think about the history of batteries for mobile devices I can recall all of the technology generations for mobile phones:
- Nickel Cadmium (aka NiCad) – used in the 1980’s and 90’s, had a memory effect so make sure to let fully discharge before charging.
- Nickel Metal Hydride (aka NiMH) – no memory effect, smaller, faster charging.
- Lithium Poly Ion (aka LIB) – no memory, smallest, fastest charging, can catch fire or explode.
There’s an emerging battery replacement technology based on Hydrogen Fuel Cells that could be making its way to mobile devices soon, because astute followers of Apple have noted a recently awarded patent, “Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device“. The benefit of using a fuel cell is that it would power your notebook or smart phone for days or possibly weeks between charging. Here’s a figure from the Apple patent showing all of the components:
US Patent #20150239280
In this particular patent they show a Mag Safe connector, something only used on the MacBook series of notebooks from Apple, although there’s a British company Intelligent Energy that has already developed a hydrogen fuel cell prototype for the iPhone 6. Since a fuel cell based on Hydrogen emits water vapor, they had to place vents on the rear of the iPhone 6.
The fuel cell system also has some electronics built-in control the DC voltage and communicate with the mobile device, shown in figure 1B below:
Some folks speculate that Intelligent Energy may be working with Apple on commercializing this technology for MacBook notebooks or future generations of iPhones. No matter how it comes to market with Apple or Intellgent Energy, it now appears that Hydrogen fuel cells are coming to our mobile devices with the immediate benefit of increased time between charges to days or weeks. I look forward to this improvement because it will simplify my busy life, plus I love trying new technologies.
Related reading – Fuel Cell Technology Total Game ChangerShare this post via: