Fuel cells in your pocket

By , the in Science - 1 Comment
At long last, the first mass-marketable fuel cells have finally arrived. An American company, nuMeridian, has released them in a new range called "Horizon", composed of three elements: the Minipak, Hydrostik, and Hydrofill.

The main product is the MiniPak, which is a portable charger the size of a 2.5" external hard drive, and is capable of delivering 400mA at 5V to any device. This is roughly the same energy charge as is provided by a USB 2.0 port, so is good for powering/recharging an MP3 player, mobile phone, external hard drive, etc.


Each Hydrostik contains hydrogen gas trapped in a metal alloy and kept at a low pressure (10 bars) so as to reduce the risk of damage to the device. Each Hydrostik contains 12Wh of electrical energy; a MiniPak with two Hydrostiks may therefore provide 2W for 12 hours.


As for recharging, this is what the Hydrofill is for, an electrolytic cell that generates hydrogen from water. It weighs 1.2 kg, so can easily be transported if need be. The manufacturer is looking into combining the technology with solar panels, in order to start a small green trade on the side.


For the time being, the cost of the technology is rather prohibitive; one Hydrostik costs $10, a MiniPak $100, and a Hydrofill $500. At $620 for a complete system, and taking into account that the Hydrofil operates for a maximum of 1000 hours, and each Hydrostick has a maximum of 1,000 recharges, this is a somewhat costly system still, as is typical with green technology these days. For now, Alkaline and Ion Litihum technology still has the edge.