Bränslecellsladdaren är stor som en mobiltelefon.

The fuel cell charger has the size of a mobile phone.

Several important steps have been taken in the development of communication which do not require cords and wires. The analogue phone, for example, has been replaced by its digital equivalent. Access to the LAN wireless network is also improving, which means that you can access the Internet without a cord. Bluetooth technology is another example of the ”wireless revolution”, where electronic equipment can communicate with other units, such as earphones.

When the battery in your laptop computer, mobile phone or MP3-player is flat, you normally have to try to find the charger, connect it to the mains and wait a few hours while the equipment recharges. Now we can avoid this problem. The Stockholm-based company, MyFC, has discarded the electric cable and uses a fuel cell charger to recharge batteries several times before the fuel cell itself has to be recharged.

The fuel cell charger, which is the size of a mobile phone, can operate on sodium boron hydride, a substance that generates hydrogen gas when it reacts with water. The expected production cost is less than SEK 10 per unit, and the technology is environmentally-sustainable. The only residual product from the fuel cell is water. MyFC’s fuel cell has a flat shape, which has several benefits. For example, the large contact surface means that it only needs access to fuel. The air needed for the reaction can be accessed automatically.

The company has developed a prototype with a 2 W output and 30 Whr capacity. At present, this is equivalent to around ten full mobile phone charges, but the capacity will increase. Mobile phone, computer and battery manufacturers have all expressed an interest in the fuel cell charger, which can be designed and adapted to suit different products and brands.

This article was first published in Advantage Environment printed in February 2008