Saturday 24 September 2016

Revealed: the first hydrogen-powered battery that will charge your Apple iPhone for a week

British firm Intelligent Energy has claimed a breakthrough in building smartphones that run for a week on a single cartridge

Christopher Williams

Published 23/08/2015 | 16:51

iphone
iphone

A British technology company has claimed a major smartphone breakthrough by developing an iPhone that can go a week without recharging, running instead off a built-in hydrogen fuel cell.

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Intelligent Energy has made a working iPhone 6 prototype containing both a rechargeable battery and its own patented technology, which creates electricity by combining hydrogen and oxygen, producing only small amounts of water and heat as waste.

On the prototype, hydrogen is refuelled via the headphone socket. In future, Intelligent Energy expects there to be slot to insert a cartridge Photo: iFixit
On the prototype, hydrogen is refuelled via the headphone socket. In future, Intelligent Energy expects there to be slot to insert a cartridge Photo: iFixit

The company is believed to be working closely with Apple. In what it claims is a world first, it has incorporated a fuel cell system into the current iPhone 6 without any alteration to the size or shape of the device. The only cosmetic difference compared with other handsets are rear vents so an imperceptible amount of water vapour can escape.

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Intelligent Energy said it is now considering the cartridges’ sale price.

Intelligent Energy's miniaturised fuel cell fits inside the existing iPhone 6 chassis alongside the battery  Photo: iFixit

Executives believe that for the price of a latte, a market worth as much as £300bn a year could open up.

Henri Winand, chief executive of Intelligent Energy, who refused to comment on rumours of Apple involvement, said: “To our knowledge this has never been done before.

Intelligent Energy's miniaturised fuel cell fits inside the existing iPhone 6 chassis alongside the battery Photo: iFixit
Intelligent Energy's miniaturised fuel cell fits inside the existing iPhone 6 chassis alongside the battery Photo: iFixit

“We have now managed to make a fuel cell so thin we can fit it to the existing chassis without alterations and retaining the rechargeable battery. This is a major step because if you are moving to a new technology you have to give people a path they are comfortable with.”

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On the prototype fuel cell iPhone, seen by The Telegraph at Intelligent Energy’s Loughborough headquarters, hydrogen gas is refuelled via an adapted headphone socket.

For the commercial launch the company is developing a disposable cartridge that would slot into the bottom of future smartphones and contain enough hydrogen-releasing powder for a week of normal use without recharging.

Mark Lawson-Statham, the company’s corporate finance chief said: “Our view is that this is a couple of years out but really it’s about how quickly does our partner want to press the button and get on with it?”

Apple declined to comment.

Telegraph.co.uk

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