Fuel cell battery chargers remain a strong area of potential growth for the fuel cell industry with high-growth applications such as digital cameras, smart phones, and tablet computers open to the introduction of a reliable, efficient technology that allows for battery recharging independent of the main electrical grid. Niche markets such as outdoor enthusiasts and emergency response services are seen as the most immediate applications for these products.
One of the most active companies in releasing new fuel cell products has been myFC. Last month the company unveiled its latest model, the PowerTrekk fuel cell charger. Designed for use by outdoor enthusiasts who spend long periods of time away from the electrical grid, the 5V PowerTrekk is designed to provide instant power for portable electronic devices such as mobile phones, digital cameras, and GPS devices. These devices receive power via a USB port. Water is then added to the Powertrekk converting hydrogen into electricity through the application of the fuel cell. The PowerTrekks has a capacity of 5.9 Wh (1600mAh, 3.7 V) and a rated output of 5V, 1000 mA and rated input of 5V, 500 mA. The PowerPukk Fuel Cartridge can be swapped out without interrupting the supply of power to the attached portable device. One cartridge is said to provide the device with enough power to fully charge a smartphone battery, but myFC says that “if the internal battery /buffer is full it will charge more than two smartphones or 15 iPods.” The 2.59 x 5 x 1.65 inch (66 x 128 x 42mm) PowerTrekk will come in green, red, or yellow and is expected to be shipped internationally in October for EURO 148 plus sales tax.
This month, Aquafairy Corporation, a Japanese firm that has been manufacturing and marketing fuel cells since 2006, announced that their new fuel cell multi-power supply, the AF-M3000, which is specially designed for mobile devices, will be available for YUAN 26,250 (or about $320). It is planned to be launched by April of this year. The device, which is 67.6 x 118.6 x 21 mm and weighs 128g, can provide a maximum output of 3.5W with a 5.2V output voltage. The device will require at least two cartridges that will retail for around $6 each and $32 for a pack of five, to charge an empty mobile phone battery. Not particularly price competitive, but Aquafairy insists that the current market prices are just a product of the test sales phase and discounts will definitely be given for bulk sales .
Other products already on the market include Horizon Fuel Cells’ MiniPAK, a palm sized universal portable designed for any electronic device requiring up to 2W of power.
2011 is looking like a big year for fuel cell battery chargers. We can expect further announcements in the coming months.
Article by Euan Sadden, appearing courtesy the Matter Network.