Rohm’s Hydrogen Fuel Cell For Phones

Rohm, Aquafairy of Kyoto, and KyotoUniversity, have co-developed compact, lightweight, high-power hydrogen fuel cells designed to power smartphones and other portable devices.

Compared with conventional lead batteries, the cells reduce weight to 1/4 with same capacity, making it possible to provide 400Whr from a device that weighs only 3kg.

Rohm, Aquafairy, and KyotoUniversity will continue to work on assessing reliability and making further improvements, with production targeted for April 2013.

Although methanol and hydrogen fuel cells are being used, they have several disadvantages like the difficulty to increase power output.

Furthermore, current hydrogen fuel cells require the use of cylinders, making them harder to handle and hinder efforts towards miniaturisation.

Rohm and Aquafairy, have succeeded in solidifying calcium hydride in a sheet configuration using proprietary technologies, generating approximately 4.5 litres of hydrogen from a sheet less than 3cc in volume (measuring 38 x 38 x 2mm), providing a power output of 5Whr.

The hydrogen fuel cells operate at ambient temperatures, making them suitable for use in smartphone chargers, tablet PCs, as power sources outdoors and in remote areas, and in emergency backup power supplies. In addition, they emit no carbon dioxide or hazardous gases and can be disposed of as general waste.

Tags: backup power supplies, hydrogen fuel cells, kyotouniversity, power sources, smartphones

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6 Comments

  1. David Manners
    September 25, 2012 14:59

    The latter John. Thanks for pointing that out.

  2. John Cutter
    September 25, 2012 14:33

    Are you sure you mean reduce weight by 1/4 which barely seems worth the effort?
    Or did you mean to 1/4 which seems to fit with the numbers I found on the internet?

  3. David Manners
    September 25, 2012 13:43

    I bet you’re right, Peter, but these claims keep on coming – and mostly out of Japan.

  4. David Manners
    September 25, 2012 13:30

    Very wise, as always, RupertG, I’m sure you’re right.

  5. Peter F vaughan
    September 25, 2012 13:28

    I’m surprised at the choice of energy (400Whr) and weight (3kg) examples given – hardly in line with smartphones and lightweight devices!
    4Whr and 30g, now, maybe…
    And I agree with RupertG, I seem to have heard it before, maybe 5 years ago, a mobile phone which you refilled with methanol from a dispenser a bit like a lighter refill.
    Fuel cells are a great concept, but the chemists have yet to deliver!

  6. RupertG
    September 25, 2012 12:43

    Consumer fuel cells have been a year away from production for as long as I remember. They simply make no sense – as this press release implicitly admits, by comparing the energy density with lead batteries. They have one-seventh the energy density of LiIon cells, so this Rohm technology is already at a huge disadvantage.
    There may come a time when the economics are useful, but it’s very hard to imagine when that might be.

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