Microfuel cell charges mobiles

Manhattan Scientifics has produced a proprietary new micro fuel cell-based portable charger. Dubbed the Power Holster, the unit is fuelled from sealed ampoules containing a borax-like material called sodium borohydride. When mixed with water, the material generates small, safe amounts of hydrogen gas at low pressure.

The ampoules are disposable or recyclable and contain a patent pending feature allowing them to function in virtually any environment. They are small enough to fit into most portable electronics.

By running its Power Holster charger on sodium borohydride ampoules, the company believes it has demonstrated the additional flexibility of its MicroFuel Cell technology to run safely on hydrogen as well as methanol.

The MicroFuel Cell array contained in the new Power Holster consists of 10 cells fabricated on a sheet of plastic. The array is 1.8 inches wide by 4.7 inches long by 0.02 inches thick and achieves approximately 1W of power, a significant improvement over the company’s previous efforts.

The Power Holster is designed to charge a cell phone’s internal battery through its charging port. In the first test, a single ampoule achieved a specific energy of 356 watthr/kg. This means it extended by a factor of 2 to 3, the operation of current lithium ion batteries.

In addition to the production of electricity and water, the product left in the ampoule of the fuel cell is commonly called ‘Boraxo,’ a water softener in laundry detergents.

Earlier this month, the company announced its co-operative fuel cell development work with the Mihama Corporation where an earlier version of the PowerHolster was demonstrated at a trade show in Japan.

Marvin Maslow, CEO of Manhattan Scientifics, said, ‘This is another important breakthrough from our lab in Los Alamos. We are getting closer to the day when mobile phones and other small portable electronics will run for weeks or months on small amounts of hydrogen or methanol that is environmentally friendly. Our new Power Holster brings us significantly closer to commercialisation as we continue to actively discuss various potential partnerships with other companies.’