In the future, Apple might be using hydrogen to power its iPhones and iPods. According to the Daily Mail, Apple has already filed a patent application for a new hydrogen battery technology. In its “Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device” patent application, Apple claims that “[s]uch fuel cells and associated fuels can potentially achieve high volumetric and gravimetric energy densities, which can potentially enable continued operation of portable electronic devices for days or even weeks without refuelling,”

If they are successful, Apple’s new hydrogen battery would be lighter than today’s technology and could last up to weeks between charges, revolutionizing how society uses their gadgets. Admittedly, this feat will not be successful – even Apple acknowledges that “[i]t is extremely challenging to design hydrogen fuel cell systems which are sufficiently portable and cost-effective to be used with portable electronic devices.” At first glance, it’s hard to not wonder at the advisability of using a process that produces water as a byproduct when charging an electronic device. But, perhaps Apple already has something up their sleeve on that one.

The following two images of the fuel cell system in a portable electronic device, were obtained from the U.S. Patent Office website:


In its application, Apple cited its motivation in developing this technology in the following statement:

“Our country's continuing reliance on fossil fuels 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.”

Photo Credit:

1. Photo of iPhone by AlMare and used under this Creative Commons license.

H/T to GKL2 for sending me a link on the new iPhone patent.