Apple Posits Fuel-Cell Powered Laptops

By  |  Friday, December 23, 2011 at 7:00 am

Imagine futuristic laptops even thinner and lighter than the MacBook Air, capable of running for several days or even weeks without recharging–Apple certainly is, as a couple U.S. patents published yesterday reveal.


The patents involve fuel cell technology, spurred, according to Apple’s filings, by “our country’s continuing reliance on fossil fuels.” That, argues Apple, “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.”  
 
Fuel cell technology isn’t new, but it could be groundbreaking in a laptop. Fuel cells are basically a way to convert the energy released from chemical reactions into electricity. They’ve been used in everything from NASA space satellites and probes to various types of vehicles, including automobiles, boats and submarines. The most common source of fuel cell energy is hydrogen, ergo the so-called “hydrogen car,” which couples oxygen and hydrogen to fuel the vehicle and produces little more than water as a byproduct.  
Apple’s patent filing describes a “portable and cost-effective fuel cell system for a portable computing device”:  

This fuel cell system includes a fuel cell stack which converts fuel into electrical power. It also includes a fuel source for the fuel cell stack and a controller which controls operation of the fuel cell system. The fuel system also includes an interface to the portable computing device, wherein the interface comprises a power link that provides power to the portable computing device, and a bidirectional communication link that provides bidirectional communication between the portable computing device and the controller for the fuel cell system.

 
Apple says a device powered by such a fuel system could run “for days or even weeks without refueling.” The system would theoretically be capable of both powering and receiving power from a rechargeable battery.  
“This eliminates the need for a bulky and heavy battery within the fuel cell system, which can significantly reduce the size, weight and cost of the fuel cell system,” reads one of the filings. “This fuel cell system includes a fuel cell stack which converts fuel into electrical power. It also includes a controller which controls operation of the fuel cell system.”  
 
[via AppleInsider]

[This post republished from Techland.]

 
5 Comments


Read more: , ,

5 Comments For This Post

  1. The_Heraclitus Says:

    LMAO! There is SO much prior art on this it isn't even worth talking about.

  2. Chase Says:

    I can't wait for that, My I phone loses its battery so fast, but fortunate I have one of those solar powered battery chargers, It makes it a little bit easier to keep my battery life up throughout the day.

  3. Collins Says:

    “Apple says a device powered by such a fuel system could run “for days or even weeks without refueling.””

    And how will the users ‘refuel’ their power supply when they need to?

  4. corporate video Says:

    who said it cant be charged…wen mobile phones can be charged then y cant a lap be charged..!
    the principle is all the same…! u will get adapters for plugin ur laptop…!but no company is providin that ..so u need to get that frm the grey market..!so ur lap is under a small amont of risk…so if u r ready to take that risk …then no prob..!!

  5. Tea Kettles Says:

    Great post. this is what i was searching for.
    Apple says a device powered by such a fuel system could run “for days or even weeks without refueling.”"

    And how will the users 'refuel' their power supply when they need to?