Sick of your iPhone running out of battery power in a day? How does one that lasts a week, without the need for a bulky battery pack or any changes to the design sound? We know, it sounds great, but also unlikely. Except it’s not, because the team at Intelligent Energy — a technology company in the UK — has developed a prototype based on an iPhone that not only delivers this level of power, but is also environmentally friendly.
The company has fitted a specially designed fuel cell inside a normal iPhone 6, which develops power by mixing hydrogen and oxygen, and the result is a phone that won’t need recharging for a week. When it does, hydrogen gas is pumped in through the modified headphone jack, rather than plugging the device into an electrical wall socket.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Intelligent Energy’s CEO Henri Winand said he thinks the technology is a world first. “We have managed to make a fuel cell so thin we can fit it to the existing chassis without alterations and retaining the original battery.” There is one slight change to the iPhone’s familiar shape, thanks to tiny vents added to the rear which allow water vapor and heat generated by the cell to dissipate.
It’s only a prototype at the moment, but the company is looking at ways to commercialize the product. Intelligent Energy’s CFO talked about a partner, and said while the tech is still a couple of years away from being ready for the public, added “it’s about how quickly does our partner want to press the button and get on with it?”
Interestingly, Intelligent Energy has been linked with Apple in the past, when talk of a partnership spread in mid-2014. At the time, the fuel cell tech was supposedly being developed for the MacBook. Apple also has patents related to using fuel cells inside its hardware. However, neither company commented on a possible partnership. Intelligent Energy is also behind the Upp portable fuel cell charger, which is sold through Apple Stores already.