Researchers ready $30 fuel cell mobile phone recharger

Taiwan's ITRI developed a plastic solid-state hydrogen as fuel for the device

Taiwanese researchers have built a new mobile-phone recharger based on fuel cell technology they say will cost little once manufacturing partners are on board.

The handset rechargers, which contains the fuel cell, will cost around US$30, while the fuel itself will come in small blue plastic tubes for about US$0.30 each, said Jerry Ku, a researcher at the Industrial Technology Research Institute, a government funded lab in Taiwan.

"The fuel canisters are inexpensive and small. They could be sold at 7-Eleven," he said.

The real innovation by ITRI is the fuel for the recharger, plasticized solid-state hydrogen. The plastic is soft enough that it can be shaped to suit the needs of different devices. It's designed to react with water to release the hydrogen to a fuel cell to produce electricity.

Commonly, electricity is produced in a fuel cell when oxygen reacts with hydrogen, giving off water as a by-product. Fuel-cell technology is viewed as more environmentally friendly than traditional batteries because the chemicals used are typically more earth friendly than those in regular batteries.

ITRI has already created working prototypes of the mobile phone charger and the blue fuel tubes, which house the plasticized solid-state hydrogen and water. The research group has already started developing laptop battery chargers as well, but Ku was unable to say when prototypes might be ready.

People using the handset recharger will get a two-hour charge per $0.30 tube of fuel, then they'll need to buy a new tube.

There are other kinds of fuel cells.

Toshiba has been promising a portable battery charger for electronic devices based on a DMFC (direct methanol fuel cell). In DMFCs, methanol, water and air react to produce electricity, giving off a small amount of water vapor and carbon dioxide as by-products. The methanol needed for the chargers will come in cartridges.

The company has said its first DMFC charger could be out within the next few months, though it was originally due out earlier this year.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags fuelcellsdmfctoshiba

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Nystedt

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?