A lot of technology companies in the market are of the opinion that fuel cell technology is an alternative to major energy problems as the North American electric grid is on the brink of increased instability. It looks like Cupertino-based Apple Inc. is on the first page of the fuel cell playbook. According to a newly published patent, Apple is mulling over using fuel cell technology to power not just iPhones and iPads, but also MacBooks.
In the patent application, Apple notes the small internal power source would add very little extra weight to a MacBook, and could possible power it “for days or even weeks without refueling”.
Apple works on a MacBook Battery
The patent, first spotted by 9to5Mac, includes a myriad of potential fuel sources, all of which could be mixed with water. Fuel cells work by mixing with a fuel, such as hydrogen, with an oxidizing agent such as water or oxygen. It is unknown on the type of fuel cell material the tech company will be using for MacBook battery. It could either be liquid hydrogen or gas or some other materials. Apple’s patent lists borohydride, magnesium hydride, sodium silicate, lithium hydride, a hydrocarbon and compressed or liquid hydrogen and others as potential fuels.
Compared to fuel cells, lithium ion batteries are short lived and degrade over time, and fail tp provide continuous electricity. Since there is no combustion in a fuel cell, fuel is converted to electricity more efficiently compared to rife electrical generation technologies today. With the recent surge in interest to look for an alternative kind of batteries altogether, fuel cells have come to be the latest obsession amongst tech researchers.
In August 2015, Intelligent Energy, a British power technology company showed off an iPhone that has been modified with a hydrogen fuel cell inside. There’s word in the market that the company might team up with the Cupertino-based company to further the use of hydrogen fuel cell. Apple’s patent also references the use of fuel cells in removable cartridges that can be refueled or recharged separately, alongside a normal battery.
The patent doesn’t warranty that Tim Cook led tech company will be using the technology in the near future. However, looking at the way things are going, it might happen soon.