My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Apple files patent for Portable Hydrogen Fuel Cells needed to cut the Analog Power Cord

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Apple files patent for Portable Hydrogen Fuel Cells needed to cut the Analog Power Cord

Apple is going to revolutionize the battery for Laptops, if their latest patent filing is to be believed.

On Thursday September 3rd 2015, Apple had filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a fuel cell for their Apple Macbook pro as reported in the article “Apple envisions laptops that run for days without a recharge”, published September 3, 2015 by Dara Kerr, CNET News.  

The parent filing, listed as a Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device on the Free Patents online, describes a Fuel Cell system that can be use to run a laptop for days or weeks without the need for refuelling.

It’s very similar to a POC (Proof of Concept) fuel cell developed by Intelligent Energy that is able to fit inside of an Apple iPhone as described in my blog article entitled “Intelligent Energy Hydrogen Fuel Cell for Apple - How Hydrogen can give Apple products weeks of battery life by 2017”.

So what’s so interesting about yet another miniaturized a PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) Hydrogen fuel cell?

Apple Hydrogen Fuel cell – Powering your Laptop with Water is possible

What's interesting is that Apple's patent doesn’t specify Hydrogen as the fuel, but suggests other potential sources of fuel such as:

1.      Sodium borohydride and water
2.      Sodium silicate and water
3.      Lithium hydride and water
4.      Magnesium hydride and water

Compressed hydrogen and Liquid Hydrogen are also possible fuels as noted in the article “Apple exploring hydrogen fuel cell batteries that could last weeks”, published September 4, 2015 By Liam Tung, ZDNET

But using hydrogen is highly unlikely, due to the fact that storing compressed hydrogen would slowly leak into the surrounding atmosphere and cause an explosion. Worse it burns with an invisible flame, making it hard to spot should a compressed hydrogen canister or cartridge rupture.

It also unique in that Apple's idea comes built into the Laptop or device instead of being an external peripheral, much as the batteries for the Apple Macbook comes built into the laptop.

The idea of as laptop being able to run on water with specially dissolve salts that can liberate hydrogen is intriguing. Still, I wouldn't mind if this device could be made into a separate power supply to power, sorta like a little mini portable generator, as Apple could license the technology to other computer makers that way.

Apple and the Battery – Last vestige of the Analog Era that needs Apple innovation

Apple has been known to consider some impressive ideas for the future before, such as Solar, Kinetic Charging or even Inductive charging for such products as the Apple iPhone and even the Apple Watch as noted 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 vestige of the Analog Era”.

Recharging products using ultrasound technology from Meredith Perry’s Ubeam is also possible as noted in my blog article entitled “Meredith Perry's Ubeam Ultrasonic Power Transfer and the Venture Capitalists - Ubeam's Wireless Charging Future is a Good Vibration with a Magnetic Personality”. 

But whatever technology Apple uses, it has to fit with their simplified aesthetic and mustn’t involve making the product unnecessarily complicated. While a fuel cell will give Apple Macbooks and Apple iPhones a longer battery life, the issue of how to refuel these products is still messy, as it may force the customer to come in contact with chemicals.

It has to be as simple as buying a cartridge and replacing it when it’s finished and the cartridges must last for months at a time, not weeks. Also it would be great if the technology was very portable.

Still, the idea of a mini generator, be it a built in Fuel cell that converts hydrogen into electricity via a PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) or using specially treated water as a fuel would be much in demand.

It would provide a way for Apple customers to finally disconnect your electronics from the electricity power grid, the last vestige of the Analog World!

Here's the link:

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