Apple’s iPhone is easily one of the most popular smartphones on the market, and the company has lavished plenty of time and money establishing their brand with the public. A steady stream of advanced apps and special features has made the iPhone a bona fide hit. Of course, it all comes at a price, and the cost is battery life. If there is one complaint that is routinely leveled at the iPhone, it’s the constant need for recharging. Anything over 24 hours is considered a bonus, and the internet is littered with tutorials on how to squeeze every last drop of power from your iPhone’s battery. But change is in the air, and it may not be long before the battery in your beloved iPhone is able to last up to a week between charges. The secret to this long lasting battery is simple – hydrogen power.
Intelligent Energy, a British tech firm, has been quietly working on a Hydrogen powered battery that can power a smartphone for up to a week without recharging. The firm has reportedly made a successful prototype, using a modified iPhone 6 chassis and their own patented rechargeable fuel cell. Some slight changes had to be made to the iPhone’s outer casing to accommodate the hydrogen fuel cell. These were minor, however, and simply involved adding some small vents to the back of the chassis to let out the nearly imperceptible amounts of heat and water vapor that are the natural byproducts of a hydrogen powered battery. Beyond those small modifications, no other changes were made to the smartphone’s basic build.
Going Off the Grid
This isn’t Intelligent Energy’s first foray into the world of hydrogen powered tech. The firm has a long history of developing alternative power sources for both the industrial and commercial markets. With more than 2000 patents to their credit, the Loughborough firm has spent years developing hydrogen power as a green alternative to fossil fuels. In fact, they were one of the first companies to offer hydrogen-power fuel cell chargers for mobile tech devices. Their Upp portable charger claims to be able to recharge a smartphone up to five times on one replaceable hydrogen fuel pack, making it possible to recharge a smartphone or tablet without the need for a standard charging station. In effect, taking the recharging process entirely off the grid.
7 Days on a Single Charge
Intelligent Energy’s long experience underpins their new smartphone battery. It is small and efficient, and can provide up to a week’s use between charges. As it stands, the prototype is rechargeable, and requires a hydrogen gas top up whenever the battery is low. It is unclear if this will hold true for a commercial model, as the firm has also developed a disposable hydrogen fuel cartridge which can be fitted to a smartphone and thrown away when the power is exhausted. Which version of the battery becomes the preferred commercial design is yet to be made clear. Intelligent Energy is still in talks with Apple, and development of the product continues apace. Apple has yet to comment one way or the other.
owering the Future
A hydrogen powered iPhone may be the wave of the future, but it is a wave that is still a few years out. Intelligent Energy hopes to have a marketable hydrogen fuel cell ready within the next two years. But they are not the only company looking to improve on the current state of smartphone batteries. A number of firms are looking for new ways to improve smartphone battery life, and the first to cross the finish line will have an Apple worthy hold on the market. Smartphone owners and iPhone users in particular, have been call out for an affordable battery that doesn’t need recharging every evening. It’s still too soon to tell if Intelligent Energy and their hydrogen powered fuel cell will pip their competitors at the post.