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Hydrogen fuel cells to charge smartphones
January 10, 2016, 3:44 pm
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The Jaq smartphone charger, from Swedish startup MyFC, is trying to swap lithium-ion batteries for hydrogen fuel cells. MyFC says it's the world smallest and most powerful fuel cell charger in the world, and it lets you stay charged without ever having to touch a wall outlet.

Instead of plugging the charger into the wall and juicing up a standard battery, owners of the Jaq create a chemical reaction with a sealed card containing water and salt. You slip the card inside the charger and its 10 hydrogen fuel cells convert the resulting energy into 1,800mAhs. That's nearly a full charge for an iPhone 6S or Samsung Galaxy S6, and it's transferred to your phone via USB.

The company imagines consumers carrying 10 or 20 of Jaq cards on them in a backpack or when they're traveling. Because the charger doesn't need to charge itself, you could conceivably keep a smartphone alive during the most remote of trips or vacations. For developing countries with unreliably power grids, the Jaq may be an easier way to stay charged.

Because the charger requires cards every time, the company is trying to use a printer-and-ink pricing model through cell carrier partnerships. Essentially, MyFC wants to give out the charger for free through your carrier, and sell a subscription service for cards that will be tacked onto your phone bill. MyFC also plans on selling extra cards on its website, but through a similar subscription service. The company hasn't hammered out pricing, but estimates it'll charge around $5 a month for a constant stream of cards.

The Jaq is only available in Sweden right now, but MyFC plans on launching in Dubai in the coming months and the US and China later this year. The ultimate goal, says marketing manager My Ernevi, is a completely clean energy charging process. The company says energy cards for the Jaq are about halfway there, but it expects to reach 100 percent recyclability by next year.

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