British firm builds experimental iPhone 6 with hydrogen fuel cell

Posted:
in iPhone edited August 2015
A British company called Intelligent Energy has reportedly built a working version of an iPhone 6 that integrates both a rechargeable battery and a hydrogen fuel cell without altering the dimensions of the device.




The only modifications include repurposing the headphone jack for refilling, and vents on the back to release small amounts of water vapour, according to The Telegraph, which was shown the prototype. A shipping product with the technology -- not necessarily an iPhone -- would have a dedicated slot for fuel cartridges, each containing enough powder to run a phone for about a week.

The Telegraph report contended that Intelligent Energy is "working closely" with Apple, although both companies refused to comment on the topic.

Intelligent Energy's corporate finance head, Mark Lawson-Statham, cautioned that a commercial product is "a couple of years out." He added that it's "about how quickly does our partner want to press the button and get on with it."

Most smartphones, including iPhones, use lithium ion batteries recharged via USB. Their battery life is typically weak though, forcing people to plug in once or twice a day.

Extending battery life has been a regular concern of Apple. Until now though, Apple's only known exploration of hydrogen has been a series of U.S. patents.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 59
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    There's a version of a Hydrogen fueled charger on the market that's about 4 ozs. in weight from Brunton: tends to look better for longer backpacks than the vagaries of solar chargers with their sunlight needs....

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/995175-REG/brunton_f_reactor_or_reactor_charger_orange.html
  • Reply 2 of 59
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member

    I don't know about anyone else, but I'd not want my pants getting a steam press every time I put my iPhone in my pocket.

  • Reply 3 of 59
    If it works, Apple should buy them ASAP.

    The water vapor must not be noticeable and it must provide a week or battery life per charge for iPhones.
  • Reply 4 of 59
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,107member
    Oh dear, queue long thread of painfully ignorant commenters equating this tech with the Hindenburg, damp pants, fusion reactions etc.
    The only way it could be topped would be some lunatic claiming it's a big oil conspiracy to prevent saintly battery tech, or even funnier, solar panels, from ruling the world.
  • Reply 5 of 59
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Entropys View Post



    Oh dear, queue long thread of painfully ignorant commenters equating this tech with the Hindenburg, damp pants etc.

    The only way it could be topped would be some lunatic claiming it's a big oil conspiracy to prevent saintly battery tech from ruling the world.



    Water vapor is a byproduct of a hydrogen fuel cell. There would be some measure of water. Not a bucket of water, obviously...

     

    If it was a superior technology providing vast improvements over a battery, Apple would've used it already.

  • Reply 6 of 59
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    I don't know about anyone else, but I'd not want my pants getting a steam press every time I put my iPhone in my pocket.

    I wonder if this would be better for a Mac notebook or iPad where it's not likely to be in your pocket.
    What kinds of air vent or absorption filter is need to make this practical for everyone?
    How about this sort of battery on your wrist where the vent could be out to the side and presumably minute enough that you wouldn't even know it?
  • Reply 7 of 59
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    I wonder if this would be better for a Mac notebook or iPad where it's not likely to be in your pocket.

    What kinds of air vent or absorption filter is need to make this practical for everyone?

    How about this sort of battery on your wrist where the vent could be out to the side and presumably minute enough that you wouldn't even know it?



    In the race between fuel cells and batteries, for consumer electronics there's no question batteries are better. For a home-scale power unit, a fuel cell may actually be a better solution, even though Elon Musk is advancing the idea of a battery storage system and solar power together.

  • Reply 8 of 59
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,668member
    entropys wrote: »
    Oh dear, queue long thread of painfully ignorant commenters equating this tech with the Hindenburg, damp pants, fusion reactions etc.
    The only way it could be topped would be some lunatic claiming it's a big oil conspiracy to prevent saintly battery tech, or even funnier, solar panels, from ruling the world.

    Solar panels wouldn't be great in a pocket. You're right there. So not great for phones. As to what you mean by "saintly battery technology" well that's between you and Jesus.
  • Reply 9 of 59
    longpathlongpath Posts: 356member

    The problem I see for this is that such a product makes a watertight case impossible, since the device must be actively venting water vapor. Consequently, in order for something like this to appeal to me, a staunch LifeProof case user, triathlete, etc. I'd want the iPhone with this to be natively watertight.



    This is certainly within Apple's capabilities. Even though they do not rate the Apple Watch for it, Ray Maker tested an Apple Watch to a simulated 40 meters without malfunction: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/05/apple-watch-waterproofing.html

  • Reply 10 of 59

    Why do I see lawyers already salivating over class action lawsuits? I dislike being pessimistic, but this is Apple!

  • Reply 11 of 59
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by longpath View Post

     

    The problem I see for this is that such a product makes a watertight case impossible, since the device must be actively venting water vapor. Consequently, in order for something like this to appeal to me, a staunch LifeProof case user, triathlete, etc. I'd want the iPhone with this to be natively watertight.



    This is certainly within Apple's capabilities. Even though they do not rate the Apple Watch for it, Ray Maker tested an Apple Watch to a simulated 40 meters without malfunction: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2015/05/apple-watch-waterproofing.html




    Yes, for a variety of reasons probably superior as an add-on. Use it as needed for a top up and otherwise the phone runs off the internal battery.

  • Reply 12 of 59
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

     

    Why do I see lawyers already salivating over class action lawsuits? I dislike being pessimistic, but this is Apple!




    You shouldn't be imagining class-actions because Apple has nothing to do with this.

  • Reply 13 of 59
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by Entropys View Post

    Oh dear, queue long thread of painfully ignorant commenters equating this tech with the Hindenburg, damp pants, fusion reactions etc.

    The only way it could be topped would be some lunatic claiming it's a big oil conspiracy to prevent saintly battery tech, or even funnier, solar panels, from ruling the world.



    Hydrogen is a pipe dream and will never be viable.

  • Reply 14 of 59

    If it was a superior technology providing vast improvements over a battery, Apple would've used it already.

    Hydrogen fuel cells are batteries.
  • Reply 15 of 59
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by KiltedGreen View Post





    Hydrogen fuel cells are batteries.



    With a byproduct of water vapor.

  • Reply 16 of 59
    joshajosha Posts: 901member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by KiltedGreen View Post

     
    Quote:

    Hydrogen fuel cells are batteries.

    But quite a unique battery.

    Currently there are several types of batteries,  the more recent being Lion which needs to be sealed tightly or it burns very hot.

    Hydrogen doesn't  just burn, it can explode with great force.

     

    I'll pass on this battery;  they probably wouldn't even allow in an aeroplane.;) 

  • Reply 17 of 59
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     



    Hydrogen is a pipe dream and will never be viable.




    Yeah, too many parts and processes, but high pressure hydrogen has more than double the energy density of Li ion batteries. 

     

    Never say never!

     

    After all, God has been using hydrogen in the Sun as a viable energy source for at least 5000 years, perhaps more depending on who you ask. Why not let him do the hard work and we can just collect the energy?

  • Reply 18 of 59
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider 



    The only modifications include repurposing the headphone jack for refilling, and vents on the back to release small amounts of water vapour, according to The Telegraph, which was shown the prototype. A shipping product with the technology -- not necessarily an iPhone -- would have a dedicated slot for fuel cartridges, each containing enough powder to run a phone for about a week.

     

    The above provides a concern for me.  Would the fuel cartidges be user refillable, or would they be one time only and you have to buy new ones?  Even if they are only, say, $10.00 each, at 52 weeks in a year, that is $520.00

  • Reply 19 of 59
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Kendog52404 View Post

     

     

    The above provides a concern for me.  Would the fuel cartidges be user refillable, or would they be one time only and you have to buy new ones?  Even if they are only, say, $10.00 each, at 52 weeks in a year, that is $520.00


    hydrogen gas is refuelled via an adapted headphone socket.

  • Reply 20 of 59
    foljsfoljs Posts: 382member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

     



    With a byproduct of water vapor.


     

    So what? Couldn't it have 2 compartments, one with the fuel and another for the "byproduct"?

     

    The byproduct then could be eventually removed through the same outlets that you'd use to recharge the battery.

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