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We May Soon Power Our Portable Devices with Fuel Cells

by on11 February 2013 3038 times
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Portable electronic devices are everywhere today, from cell phones to tablets, and more find their way into our hands every day.  The power-hungry gadgets we have today often require daily charging, sometimes more often than that.  In the usual course of day-to-day life that isn’t an issue, as power is readily available and inexpensive, but sometimes we need our portable electronics to be portable for more than a day. 

Developers at a Massachusetts company called Lillipution Systems have developed a unique answer to the need for portable power: the Nectar fuel cell.  You read that right, a fuel cell to charge your phone, your tablet, any piece of electronic wizardry that would normally charge off of a USB port.

The Nectar fuel cell runs off of butane cartridges, passing the gas over a ceramic membrane, causing oxygen atoms to pass through the surface and generate a current.  The process generates heat as high as 1800 degrees F, but thanks to a system of insulating silicon-nitride tubes, the exterior of the Nectar stays cool.  Since the Nectar is completely self-contained, a person could enjoy the use of their tablet or phone nearly anywhere for two weeks on a single butane cartridge.  As a bonus, once a butane cartridge is empty it can be recycled.

The Nectar is due out in May, with a surprisingly low initial price tag of $299, plus $10 per cartridge for fuel.  

[Ed – Fuel Cell technology is something that many have been investigating for years. It is something that has always been on the fringes despite many successes from individuals who have built them for personal use. We hope that this technology can truly evolve and become commercially viable. Lillipution Systems has a tough job ahead of them. They have to take a volatile and potentially explosive fuel (butane) and ensure that there is no chance of injury even from accidental damage and we all know how easily someone can accidentally break something…]

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Last modified on 11 February 2013
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