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Horizon launches pocket-sized fuel cell charger for portable electronic devices

Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies has launched a pocket-sized fuel cell charger, aimed at the huge global market for portable consumer electronics. Horizon says the MiniPak® is the world’s first fuel cell product to compete on cost with both disposable and rechargeable batteries. And a single refillable cartridge supplies as much power over its life as 1000 disposable AA alkaline batteries.

At a launch price of US$99, the MiniPak breaks the cost barrier associated with most fuel cell devices. At higher production levels, Horizon expects prices to drop to $29, with extra fuel cartridges sold at prices similar to disposable alkaline batteries, and refilling costs of just a few cents.

The MiniPak ‘personal power center’ delivers 1.5–2 W of continuous power using a standard USB port, and uses refillable fuel cartridges able to store up to 12 Wh of net energy. It is designed to charge small portable electronic devices, such as cell phones, smart phones, MP3/MP4 players, and GPS devices. It also frees up the many USB applications that can be connected to and powered by PCs, such as flashlights, wireless speaker systems, fans etc.

The MiniPak micro fuel cell uses a combination of Horizon’s mass-produced PEM fuel cells and a new low-cost metal hydride storage solution, which is able to store hydrogen safely as a dry, non-toxic and non-pressurized material. The fuel cartridge contains a metallic sponge that can absorb hydrogen and form a solid hydride.

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