Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, which made a splash at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year with its in-home hydrogen fuel cell technology, announced today the coming availability of an even more portable form of this type of power source. The company will soon be selling its new MiniPak at around $100.
The Horizon MiniPak is designed to power more mobile focused devices, like flashlights and smartphones, which require only a few watts of power. It outputs 1.5 to 2 watts of power through an integrated micro-USB port and a multi-choice cable to connected devices to charge them. The MiniPak itself gets its power from one of two included refillable solid state hydrogen cartridges which can be refilled through the company’s in-home Hydrofill unit (as well as other hydrogen power sources we assume). While this might seem to be a bit of a pain, consider this: one filled HydroStik, as they are called, delivers what the company says is the equivalent of “2 to 3 charges of a 3G smartphone, or 4-6 charges for average cellphones, which is more than what present primary and rechargeable batteries are able to offer at equivalent cost.”
Key features of the MiniPak, according to its maker, include no energy self discharge, portability, use of recycled plastics and green materials in its design, use with almost any USB-enabled device needing power that meets the output ability and, via the lifetime cycle of just one of the HydroStik cartridges, the ability to deliver the same amount of power as roughly 1000 disposable alkaline AA batteries.
For those that are curious about the technology behind this, Horizon says that its “MiniPak micro-fuel cell is using a combination of Horizon’s mass-produced PEM fuel cells and a new low-cost metal hydride storage solution, which is able to store hydrogen safely as a dry, non-toxic and non-pressurized material. The fuel cartridge contains a metallic sponge that is able to absorb hydrogen and turn it into a solid hydride. It is then able to release it back to the fuel cell when needed. The PEM fuel cell combines oxygen from the air with the stored hydrogen – electricity via its USB port and trace amounts of water vapor.”
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