Outdoor types who need power for mobile devices away from the grid may find themselves carrying solar chargers or battery packs but, as we reported last year, hydrogen fuel cells offer instant juice benefits and zero degradation. Now, Stockholm's myFC and SiGNa Chemistry have teamed up to launch the PowerTrekk, a pocket-sized, portable charging solution that combines the convenience of a battery pack with the instant power of a hydrogen fuel cell.
Developed to provide some off-the-grid juice to outdoor enthusiasts or anyone who finds themselves away from a wall socket when their smartphone, GPS or digital camera battery dies, myFC's PowerTrekk 2-in-1 portable charger is the first to use Mobile-H2 technology from SiGNa Chemistry. In addition to sporting a Li-ion battery pack, the device also takes a Mobile-H2 cartridge called a PowerPukk.
The PowerPukk disc contains sodium silicide (NaSi), a non-flammable powder which rapidly produces hydrogen thanks to a stable and controllable reaction with a wide variety of non-potable, non-distilled water – including salt water – at room temperature. SiGNa says that the powder is generated from salt (sodium chloride) and sand (silicon dioxide) starting materials in a solvent- and purification-free process where the heat generated during manufacture is recaptured and used within the process, keeping energy consumption down.
About a tablespoon of water is added to the central well of the PowerPukk after it's placed inside the belly of the PowerTrekk, after which the device's Proton Exchange Membrane starts to silently convert the hydrogen into electricity. The only by-product of the process is a little water vapor. There's no more waiting around for the sun to harvest enough energy to power your gadgets, and the unit is said not to suffer from degradation often associated with battery packs.
The PowerTrekk's built-in Li-ion battery buffer has a capacity of 5.9 Wh (1600 mAh, 3.7 V) and the device has a rated output of 5V, 1000 mA and rated input of 5V, 500 mA. The PowerPukk Fuel Cartridge can be swapped out without interrupting the supply of power to the attached mobile device.
One cartridge is said to provide the device with enough power to fully charge a smartphone's battery, but myFC says that "if the internal battery/buffer is full it will charge more than 2 smartphones or 15 iPods."
PowerPukk cartridges come in either five or ten packs and have a shelf life of two years minimum. myFC told Gizmag that an end of operational life recycling program to best fit consumers would be launched when the PowerTrekk and PowerPukk discs go on sale.
The 2.59 x 5 x 1.65-inch (66 x 128 x 42mm) PowerTrekk, which is currently on display at Mobile World Congress 2011 in Barcelona, will come in green, red or yellow and is expected to be shipped internationally in October for an estimated US$200. PowerPukk discs will likely cost of couple of dollars each.