Pocket Fuel Cell USB Charger Nears Market

Whether we admit it or not, we depend heavily on our electronic devices to keep us organized, productive, and entertained. This dependence probably isn’t healthy, and we often need to remind ourselves to step away from the screens and wires, but it’s a fact of life in this information age.

The only problem is our gadgets are dependent on something too: electricity. And unlike us, they really will die if forced to go without it. As a result, there’s an entire industry of products designed to power our devices when plugging up to a wall outlet is out of the question. Some convert sunlight, kinetic energy, heat, or wind power into juice for a phone or computer. But, as so many are quick to point out, even these renewable resources aren’t always available. Lilliputian Systems (LSI) recently teamed up with Brookstone to market a portable charging system that could sever our outlet tethers for good.

Lilliputian portable fuel-cell charger

image via Lilliputian Systems

The device will feature LSI’s patented Silicon Power Cell technology, originally developed at MIT’s Microsystems Technology Laboratory.  It includes a chip based power generator and is fueled by recyclable high energy fuel cartridges. According to LSI the technology is reliable, approved for use on aircraft, and six times more efficient than using a wall charger.

Unlike solar or heat-powered chargers, LSI’s standalone, portable, lightweight, “plug-less charger” product will provide weeks of power to any USB compatible device, the company says. This means the system can be used for multiple devices, significantly reducing the need for consumers to travel with cables and power adapters, all at a much lower cost and carbon footprint than spare batteries.

“Brookstone’s widespread distribution, brand recognition and reach to our targeted customer base are world-class and we are certain this will be a successful partnership,” said Ken Lazarus, Lilliputian CEO.  “Together with Brookstone, we look forward to providing customers with a real solution to the challenge of keeping today’s mobile devices powered.”

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • Barbie849

      When are these to be available and how much? If it goes for weeks, what happens to it when it runs out of fuel?

      • Pete

        Brookstone and Lilliputian said they’ll have more about the availability of the product in a couple of months. As for what happens when the device runs out of power, well, the power is provided in a recyclable cartridge. So when it runs out, you need to pop in a new cartridge.

      • Jmac786

        “the device will cost between $150 and $200, with the price dropping as
        production volume increases. Fuel cartridges will cost between $2 and $5,
        depending on the size: a small one might be capable of recharging your
        smartphone’s completely depleted battery 10 times, while a large would give
        you 20 recharges.”
        http://www.lilliputiansystemsinc.com/news.php?id=10

        Fascinating technology, but will consumers pay $150 upfront?  Its the right size to toss into a glovebox, suitcase, backpack, etc and last longer than solar chargers.

        • Pete

          Thanks for the link to the article for the Boston Globe, which has covered this local company in depth. If Lilliputian can keep the costs at the low end of those ranges, I think they might have a chance. It does sound super-convenient.

          Pete Danko
          Managing Editor, EarthTechling

    • Morrismak

      This product is not “green” at all. U have to replace the cartrige, which create wastes.