updated 03:15 pm EDT, Fri April 18, 2008
The Electro-Mechanics division of Samsung says it has developed a hydrogen-powered prototype cellphone, one which could soon have a commercial equivalent. The new technology consists of a special hydrogen generator and a micro-fuel cell; when the phone is turned on, metal and water react to produce hydrogen gas, which is then transferred to a fuel cell where oxygenation releases energy. Most conventional versions of this technology are said to require methanol in place of water.
The Samsung fuel cell only produces 3W of electricity, but this is still enough to supply cellphones and other mobile devices for up to 10 hours of use at a time. The principal drawback is that, assuming an owner used a phone for up to four hours a day, a cartridge would need to be replaced every five days. Samsung says it is already planning to develop cartridgeless phones, which would only need to have water poured in. The first hydrogen-powered Samsung phones should be on sale in 2010.