London: Apple is said to be working on laptops and smartphones powered by hydrogen fuel cells that would last for weeks without needing to be refuelled.
According to patent filings, in two documents submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the iPhone maker said its proposal “eliminates the need for a bulky and heavy battery”.
A hydrogen fuel cell converts hydrogen and oxygen into water and electrical energy.
The technology has long been hyped as a potential power source for cleaner cars. Electronics manufacturers have also shown growing interest in replacing batteries that rely on toxic chemicals with hydrogen fuels cells that would last longer and produce only water as a by-product.
“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,” the Telegraph quoted Apple as saying in its patent filings.
“These problems have led to an increasing awareness and desire on the part of consumers to promote and use renewable energy sources,” it said.
It also notes that hydrogen fuels cells could be smaller and lighter than batteries, while still powering mobile computers for longer.
“Such 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,” Apple said.
The two patents, “Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device” and “Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device” are not the first signs that indicate that Apple is working to replace battery technology.
In October a further pair of patent applications detailed ways of squeezing more power from lighter hydrogen fuel cells.