Apple Files Patent for Hydrogen-Powered Phones
They say it could make portable devices lighter, thinner
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2011 10:37 AM CST
The new iPhone 4S is shown by a customer at a shop in Tokyo on the launch day in Japan Friday, Oct. 14, 2011.   (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
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(Newser) – Apple is working on a new way to power its fleet of consumer electronics: Hydrogen fuel cells. Apple has applied for two patents that cover using the fuel cells on portable electronics like iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, which it boasts could make those products smaller, lighter, and able to run for “days or even weeks without refueling,” Mashable reports. Hydrogen fuel cells are well established technology, but translating them to portable electronics has proven difficult.

Apple’s solution involves “a fuel cell system which is capable of both providing power to and receiving power from a rechargeable battery,” which “eliminates the need for a bulky and heavy battery within the fuel cell system.” Apple is also betting that the cells will appeal to environmentally-conscious consumers. Still, the cells also pose lots of challenges. For starters, they work by converting oxygen and hydrogen into electricity, heat, and water, which, Techtree quips, means hydrogen phones might “cause users to wet their pants.”