A Canadian company has taken a significant step in the development of hydrogen-powered cell phones. Unlike previous attempts at hydrogen-powered phones, Angstrom Power´s prototype allows the fuel cell to fit comfortably inside the phone, and can last twice as long between refueling than phones powered with lithium ion batteries.
Angstrom Power's hydrogen-powered Motoslvr cell phones were on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. The fuel cell version looks identical to the battery version, but another advantage of the new technology is that it can refuel in as little as 10 minutes.
As Paul Zimmerman of Angstrom Power explains, the key advantage of the technology is the ability to fit the fuel cell into the phone itself, rather than being hooked up to an exterior device for power. With the design of "Micro Hydrogen" technology, Zimmerman hopes that the company will launch its first commercial fuel cell phones in 2010, and grow from there. If fuel cell phones live up to their promise of better power, the market could be in the hundreds of millions of devices.
However, there are a few obstacles confronting fuel cell phones, including safety and convenience. Angstrom Power - and other companies in the market - will have to provide strong evidence that the phones are not vulnerable to explosions. Angstrom Power says it has tossed its phones into a burning barbecue, and they were able to survive the heat intact.
Another concern about fuel cell phones is the fact that users can´t simply plug in their phones to recharge them. Rather, they´ll have to buy hydrogen fuel - meaning stores will have to sell it. Or, convenience stores and gas stations would have to provide hydrogen kiosks. Angstrom is trying out another idea, though. The company is developing a home-based water-powered unit, where users simply pour in water to activate the refueling.
Angstrom is currently collaborating with world-leading battery manufacturers, portable electronic device makers, and mobile service providers toward the commercialization of its Micro Hydrogen technology.