Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Innovation - Fuel Cell to power Smart Phones

A common problem with smart phones is power. Most smart phones run out of power within a day. Therefore a common need is for an alternate to the standard battery - which can power the phone for days or even weeks.  Today, we are no where close to developing such a battery that can power cell phones for days. So one has to look beyond the battery - into fuel cell technology.

One company, Lilliputian Systems a pocket sized fuel cell - Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) and micro-reformer on a silicon chip based on technology out of MIT and Lawrence Livermore National Labs. This Boston-based company is using Micro Electro Mechanical Systems technology from the integrated circuit industry to produce extremely high energy densities. They are targeting the battery replacement market for the next generation of portable electronics.

Their first product is quite impressive - a pocket sized charger which uses butane. According to the company statements - this can charge a smart phone for 10-14 times per butane cartridge. The fuel cell has a USB port and will be sold under Brookstone's own brand. The fuel cell is said to be about the size of a thicker smartphone and is powered by cartridges filled with lighter fluid about the same size as a cigarette lighter.

As these fuel cells use silicon chip based MEMS - and with ever improving nanotechnology, we can hope to see cell phones powered by fuel cells.

Also see: 

Nectar Power
Lilliputian Fuel Cell Gadget

Download the tech paper: "Powering the Wireless World"

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