Intelligent Energy Teams Up With Smartphone Maker to Develop Hydrogen Fuel Cell Technology That Could Expand Battery Life to a Week
British power technology company Intelligent Energy has been developing hydrogen fuel cell charging to technology devices. On Monday, the company announced a $7.6 million partnership deal with an unspecified smartphone manufacturer to bring the hydrogen fuel cell technology to mobile devices, specifically smartphones.
The technology can make smartphone batteries last up to a week, as the fuel cell battery creates energy from hydrogen and oxygen. That makes the hydrogen fuel cell an eco-friendly technology, whereas only heat and water would be emitted as waste, as explained by Mail Online.
The fuel cell is so thin that it could fit inside most existing smartphones without making them bulkier. However, smartphones using the hydrogen fuel cell technology do have a distinctive visual difference. As revealed in the prototype, smartphones using the technology would have small vents in the back of the devices. The vents will enable water vapor as energy waste to escape from the device.
Previously, Intelligent Energy, in partnership with Boeing, has succeeded in applying fuel cell technology for airplanes. The company also helped develop a hydrogen-powered hybrid black cab that operates on the streets of London. The company have had more than 25 years of research on the hydrogen fuel cell technology, as well as over a thousand of patents, including the world's first hydrogen-fuelled motorcycle introduced in 2005.
However, applying hydrogen fuel cell technology to mobile devices would not be simple, despite the company's vast experiences and resources. Fortune elaborated the challenge by explaining that hydrogen fuel cells don't work like conventional lithium-ion batteries, charging and re-charging electrodes every time a phone is plugged in. Hydrogen fuel cells generate electricity from a chemical reaction to create an electrical current. That creates the need to do hardware changes in the device as well, like the water vents to let the reaction's waste, water, to go out.
The Chief Executive of Intelligent Energy Henri Winand stated that if the partnership with the smartphone manufacturer goes well, the product could be available in the markets in around two years. Android Authority noted that the nature of the partnership is that the smartphone maker provides Intelligent Energy with $7.6 million to develop the hydrogen fuel cell to be specifically used on smartphones.
Intelligent Energy had not revealed the smartphone company involved in the partnership, but the company did say that it's an emerging smartphone maker. That means the smartphone maker would not be big companies like Apple or Samsung.
The development of hydrogen fuel cell for smartphones would not be easy, but Intelligent Energy is optimistic that they are closer to acquire the technology, especially with the new partnership with a smartphone maker. Intelligent Energy will use the $7.6 million from the partnership to develop fuel cell technology that would expand battery life to up to seven days.