Horizon, a fuel cell manufacturing company from Singapore, has recently unveiled a small hydrogen fuel cell charger that could juice your gadgets (PDA, phone, MP3, etc). It’s called MiniPAK, and it uses refillable solid-state hydrogen cartridges (called HydroSTIK) to store its power.
The MiniPAK’s power output is 2.5W (5V, 400mA), just like your regular charger (more or less). It features a standard USB port and various cables that you can use.
It also comes with 2 refillable and ready to use solid state hydrogen cartridges. While the term “solid state” makes me a bit confused, reading further on their website I enlighten myself and see that these tanks are storing hydrogen into metal alloys, with pressures “under 10 bars in normal temperature conditions, and not exceeding 20 to 30 bars at elevated temperatures.” This sounds safe enough, considering that standard hydrogen tanks can go up to 5,000 psi (344 bar). However, I wouldn’t want one of these exploding anywhere near me. I guess they thought of that, too.
The HydroSTIK can be juiced up using a home charger that can be either powered from the grid or from a solar panel. Considering the system’s overall efficiency (fuel cell, hydrogen storage, solar cell), my guess that, while not being exceedingly efficient, this solar-powered hydrogen fuel cell really saves… CO2. But not your money. The MiniPAK costs around $100, but the home recharging station doesn’t has a fixed price yet, and I don’t think of anything cheaper than $100.
The best part in this (and this is the main reason I’d buy one, except for the CO2 savings) is that one charge of hydrogen lasts as much as 1,000 batteries the same size. And that says it all.