Apple investigating fuel-cell-powered MacBooks

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  • prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by malax View Post


    I recall the acquisition, but I don't recall it being discussed in terms of fuel cells. Is this speculation on your part or is there real connection between these topics?



    I could be wrong but the way I remember it the only patent Apple has applied for involving LiquidMetal was for a new (anode/diode) plate in a battery, not a fuel cell. It was supposed to give a 30% boost or something.
  • wigginwiggin Posts: 2,196member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by NotScott View Post


    If I understand it correctly, the fuel cell generates power, which is then stored in the battery and doled out from there as needed. A controller governs the relationship between demand (depletion of the battery) and supply (generation from the fuel cell).



    This would allow one to use a smaller battery, since it would recharge more often, internally, from the fuel cell.



    ?



    That's how I was understanding it. A fuel cell might not be able to respond rapidly enough to the fluxuating power needs of a portable electronic device...instand on, CPU/GPU ramping up/down, etc. Like a hybrid car...it runs off the battery and the smaller engine keeps the battery charged. Even those hand cranked flashlights you can buy...most people don't realize they have batteries in them (and the batteries may need occassional replacement). Turning the crank doesn't power the light. It charges the battery. That way it's ready to turn on instantly without having to first turn the crank.
  • monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,114member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    What happens to the water?



    The macbook will have a little iPenis that it wee's with.
  • backtomacbacktomac Posts: 4,579member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    The macbook will have a little iPenis that it wee's with.



    It gonna need one.



    Seriously though, if you look at the diagrams its not obvious what happens to the water that is produced.
  • ivladivlad Posts: 732member
    It's interesting to see fuel cells being "talked" about, but really this is so far from reality that I would expect man landing on Mars before this comes to consumers. This would require a whole new system of economics where economies are fueled by Hydrogen and not Foreign Oil; but then again it will be fun going to CVS to buy a hydrogen capsule to refuel small gadgets.
  • lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by backtomac View Post


    It gonna need one.



    Seriously though, if you look at the diagrams its not obvious what happens to the water that is produced.



    may depend on how much is produced - perhaps it could be used for water cooling of the CPU and GPU - although having steam come out may not be better than water dripping out.
  • cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,151member
    Here's the patent:

    http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-P...957&RS=7862957



    Here's some discussion of it and Liquid Metal:

    http://www.cultofmac.com/75486/apple...ent-exclusive/



    N.B. Fuel cell reactions are reversible--it's not necessarily the case that a fuel cell would need to be replenished by the addition of some unwieldy liquid. Just plug in a charger to drive the reaction in reverse.
  • flash_beezyflash_beezy Posts: 239member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by malax View Post


    And Ballmer, at a summit for tech luminaries, ridicules the idea of anything other than traditional batteries powering consumer devices. "Consumers love batteries and the feeling of security of knowing they can plug their computer into the wall every few hours using a transformer. No one wants to go days without plugging in."



    I can actually imagine this....lol! Facial expressions and all.
  • tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member
    Umm. Ok I don't have a problem with it as long as it can make my 20 oz Iced Mocha.
  • naboozlenaboozle Posts: 213member
    Another inventory I have to procure and manage? No, Thanks. I'll stick with a technology where I can get power at billions of outlets around the world either free or for a pittance.



    For those occasions away from the grid, there are already solutions (solar chargers, bicycle dynamos) that are perfectly adequate to charge the newer low-power devices such as iphone or even ipad. Fuel cells could join those solutions as an external battery-charging option. But there's no compelling reason to build them into every unit other than the desire by engineers to eternally increase the power levels. That way lies madness. iPad is pointing the other way -- efficiency is far more elegant and desirable.
  • ssquirrelssquirrel Posts: 1,196member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post


    Fuel cell reactions are reversible--it's not necessarily the case that a fuel cell would need to be replenished by the addition of some unwieldy liquid. Just plug in a charger to drive the reaction in reverse.



    This is the part I was wondering. I was wondering how we were going to refill the fuel cell, b/c Apple has already been working to make less and less of all their products need to be user accessed. RAM and maybe a hard drive is about all that is easily accessible in anything outside of the Mac Pro currently, and easily is pushing it w/some of those. Some have no really user replaceable bits, like the iPad.



    If this means we would have a large power in a small space fuel cell that powers a smaller battery that overall takes up less space, then you plug in to charge both up, I could see that having possibilities. So long as recharging the fuel cell fully didn't take forever. I would assume once the internal battery got to 25% or some number it would start recharging off the fuel cell and until then the fuel cell sits inert.
  • kolchakkolchak Posts: 1,398member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Cpsro View Post


    N.B. Fuel cell reactions are reversible--it's not necessarily the case that a fuel cell would need to be replenished by the addition of some unwieldy liquid. Just plug in a charger to drive the reaction in reverse.



    Fuel cells are not good for electrolysis. And what do you do with all this hydrogen you theoretically generate? Do you have microcompressors to stuff it back into the tank?



    As much as I like the concept of hydrogen fuel cells, forty years of reading about them tells me they have too many problems. Proton exchange membranes degrade due to exposure to airborne contaminants. Storage of hydrogen isn't easy. Compressed hydrogen has very low power density. Liquid is slightly better but you're wasting a lot of energy to liquify it and you need lots of insulation to keep it cold. Adsorbents are bulky and heavy. Generating hydrogen in the first place wastes a lot of energy because electrolysis is so inefficient.



    Come back to reality.
  • The future is MEG solar cells, 114% efficient. That is enough suface area to cover the lid of a Macbook.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,839member
    A nuclear power source would be cheaper and easier to build and probably safer. Especially if the goal is to trickle charge the battery like this is apparently doing.



    Could you ever see the FAA approving any sort of hydrogen powered source for walk on airplane use? Even before the advent of the idiocy over terrorism it would have been considered stupid. Even more liquid fuels like methanol would be a problem. The problem is clearly one that would take much engineering and test to convince anybody such a unit is safe for flight.



    I'm all for improved devices but I can not see such a cell ever being safe for transportation. At least not with liquid or gaseous hydrogen.
  • mr. memr. me Posts: 3,219member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by some internet dude View Post


    The future is MEG solar cells, 114% efficient. ...



    No. It is a violation of the laws of physics--specifically, the first, second, and third laws of thermodynamics--for a device to be more than 100% efficient. Multiple Exciton Generation solar cells are not 114% efficient. According to this paper published by the U. S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, quantum dot MEG solar cells are 45%-85% efficient. This is fantastic as it is. There is no need to claim the physically impossible to try to make them look good.
  • asciiascii Posts: 5,363member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    I think the key words in this patent are all that political, ideological muck at the beginning about "unstable Middle Eastern governments." That tells you right there that this is not mainstream at Apple itself.



    I also wondered what was up with that.
  • roockaroocka Posts: 25member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by malax View Post


    I recall the acquisition, but I don't recall it being discussed in terms of fuel cells. Is this speculation on your part or is there real connection between these topics?



    Its not speculation. Here is the link.



    http://www.cultofmac.com/75486/apple...ent-exclusive/
  • kkesslerkkessler Posts: 1member
    Does this mean that Apple patented the intuitively obvious idea of putting a fuel cell in a laptop (or other portable device with computer chips)? So when someone actually invents a practical portable fuel cell, only Apple will be able to us it? What a bunch of Patent Trolls Apple is, and we need to fix our patent system so that only things that actually exist and are not completely obvious can be patented.
  • lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kkessler View Post


    Does this mean that Apple patented the intuitively obvious idea of putting a fuel cell in a laptop (or other portable device with computer chips)? So when someone actually invents a practical portable fuel cell, only Apple will be able to us it? What a bunch of Patent Trolls Apple is, and we need to fix our patent system so that only things that actually exist and are not completely obvious can be patented.



    I doubt the patent is simply about the concept of putting a fuel cell into a notebook - far more likely that it has to do with the interoperation of said fuel cell with a Li-ion battery and the control logic necessary to make it a viable working system.
  • nicolbolasnicolbolas Posts: 254member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. Me View Post


    No. It is a violation of the laws of physics--specifically, the first, second, and third laws of thermodynamics--for a device to be more than 100% efficient. Multiple Exciton Generation solar cells are not 114% efficient. According to this paper published by the U. S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, quantum dot MEG solar cells are 45%-85% efficient. This is fantastic as it is. There is no need to claim the physically impossible to try to make them look good.



    owned?



    anyways, with this crazy new tech maybe it will be possible, though the price of such a laptop would probably start over 10k... (i would guess, cause solar tech so new, integrating it, etc)



    of course, it would make the laptop more thick, so no PC** manufacturer would make them on non-workstation laptops.



    ** PC = Personal Computer. You going to try telling me Mac's and not personal computers?
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