Apple plots fuel cell that could charge your mobile for weeks

The news comes ahead of Apple’s annual autumn launch event, at which it is expected to unveil new iPhones and an update to Apple TV.


Apple has filed a patent for a fuel cell which it says could power laptops or smartphones for weeks at a time.

The tech giant is looking at developing a “portable and cost-effective” fuel cell that could link to electronic devices and provide power when needed through “a bidirectional computer link”.

The concepts appear to be an early stage so far, with Apple not yet clear on what fuel would be used to create the electrical power. The company says it is looking at sources including liquid hydrogen, hydrocarbons and sodium silicate.

Devices could go weeks without needing charge

On its patent application, Apple says: “Such fuel cells… can potentially enable continued operation of portable electronic devices for days or even weeks without refuelling.

“However, it is extremely challenging to design hydrogen fuel cell systems which are sufficiently portable and cost-effective to be used with portable electronic devices.”

Renewable energy sources

The patent notice adds: “Our country’s continuing reliance on fossil fuels has forced our government to maintain complicated political and military relationships with unstable governments in the Middle East, and has also exposed our coastlines and our citizens to the associated hazards of offshore drilling.

“These problems have led to an increasing awareness and desire on the part of consumers to promote and use renewable energy sources.

“As a consequence of this increased consumer awareness, electronics manufacturers have become very interested in developing renewable energy sources for their products.”

New iPhones expected

Apple is this week set to hold an event at which it is expected to unveil new products – thought to be new iPhone models and an update to its Apple TV.

The 9 September event will be the tech giant’s annual autumn event. Last September it used the event to unveil its Apple Watch, as well as new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models.

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