My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Intelligent Energy Hydrogen Fuel Cell for Apple - How Hydrogen can give Apple products weeks of battery life by 2017


Monday, August 24, 2015

Intelligent Energy Hydrogen Fuel Cell for Apple - How Hydrogen can give Apple products weeks of battery life by 2017

“To our knowledge this has never been done before. 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.”

Chief executive of Intelligent Energy, Henri Winand, commenting on their developement of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell for the Apple iPhone

Imagine your Apple iPhone 6 being able to last weeks on a single battery charge instead of a day?

That's the promise of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell being developed by a British company Intelligent Energy as reported in the article “Revealed: the first hydrogen-powered battery that will charge your Apple iPhone for a week”, published 22 Aug 2015 by Christopher Williams, The Telegraph.

A world first, they've managed to squeeze an Upp Hydrogen Fuel Cell into an Apple iPhone 6 without increasing the thickness from 6.9mm (0.27”) as pointed out in my blog article entitled “Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus - No Sapphire Screen but 128GB Storage and NFC-powered Apple Pay in Apple's Biggest iPhone Launch”.

Intelligent Energy has a patent on a popular portable charging device called “Upp”, which it released in 2014 as noted in the video below. Apparently, they've figured out a way to miniaturize into an Apple iPhone!

Apple isn't officially collaborating with Intelligent Energy, but the design concept is rather compelling. Not to mention the fact that smartphones with 1 week battery life would give Apple a decidedly uncomfortable advantage over current smartphones that can barely last a day in a single charge.

So how exactly does this work? And are there any disadvantages to having a Hydrogen Fuel Cell in your pocket?

Intelligent Energy Hydrogen Fuel Cell for Apple - How Hydrogen can give Apple products weeks of battery life

The Fuel Cell creates electricity from hydrogen and oxygen via a PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) similar to the technology used by Japanese company Toyota as reported in my blog article entitled “PEM Fuel Cell Technology gets Japanese Government support - Hydrogen Gas Stations Coming in First World and Developing World Countries”.

In effect, you’d be freed from frequent recharging and even inductive recharging via a device that’s basically portable Power Generator in an Apple iPhone or any device for that matter, such as the Apple iPod, Apple MacBook Pro or Apple iPad.

However, with the waste products being water vapor and heat, the hydrogen stored in the cartridge will have to either be replenished or the cartridge replaced. This might be a minor inconvenience, since it implies that Apple iPhone users will have to tinker with the innards of the next Apple iPhone or any product Apple want to use this technology.

This is a definite aesthetic design no-no for a company that makes solid consumer products that you just use without having to go inside to modify, fix or repair anything! 

However, if they could figure out a way to make the cartridge rechargeable without it having to be removed from the Apple iPhone 6, then Intelligent Energy would have a winning product on their hands that Apple would accept!

Still they had to make modifications to the iPhone 6 with the addition of air vents at the rear so as to release water vapour, a by-product of a hydrogen Fuel Cell, into the atmosphere.

This means you can't carry this in your purse or pocket as pointed out in the article “Future iPhones Will Have One Week Of Battery Life, With One Catch”, published AUG 24, 2015, by Jay McGregor, Forbes.

That can be mitigated by the use of silica gel desiccant powder to prevent moisture from gathering around the vents, reducing the risk of corrosion and extending the lifespan of the Apple iPhone.

Heat from the Li-Polymer battery would keep the silica gel salts dry, allowing the cycle of water removal to continue without need to open, clean and replace the Hydrogen Cartridge.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell to augment Li-Ion Battery - Expect full replacement by Apple iPhone 7 in 2017

This isn't meant to replace the traditional Li-Polymer Batteries used in the Apple iPhone 6, but to augment existing battery power, making it possible to have a weeks worth of battery life as noted in “Hydrogen Fuel Cell integrated into iPhone 6 powers it for a week”, published Aug. 24, 2015 by Matthew Humphries, Geek.

But with interesting in smartphones waning across the world, making a smartphone with longer battery life and be its own portable energy! Miniaturizing the Up Fuel cell was difficult, but the remaining problems can be solved!

An arguement I've suggested many times over the years and more recently for the Apple Watch as reported in my blog article entitled “Apple considering Inductive, Solar and Kinetic Charging for Apple iWatch - Apple iWatch will start the Post-Power Adapter Era and kill the power Brick, the last vestage of the Analog Era”,  will make Apple’s rechargeable products i.e. Apple iPod, Apple MacBook Pro, Apple iPad, stand out.

Especially if they also include inductive charging, putting them on par with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, which has inductive charging built in as noted in my Geezam blog article entitled “Samsung declares 2015 Year of Wireless Smartphone Charging becoming an Industry Standard”.

Expect this to be coming in the Apple iPhone 7 by 2017!

Here’s the link:

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