A report from the Daily Mail over the weekend claimed Apple is working with fuel cell company Intelligent Energy on a project that hopes to embed fuel cells in mobile devices “within a few years.” The Daily Mail doesn’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to accuracy, but the report claimed “senior sources in the US” have confirmed the partnership between the two companies.
The technology could be rolled out in devices such as laptops and iPads, allowing them to run without being charged for days or even weeks…Intelligent Energy revealed upon floating that it bought a bundle of patents in tandem with a major ‘international electronics company’…It has kept the identity of its partner a closely-guarded secret. But a source, who has knowledge of the partnership, confirmed that Apple is the big name working with the Loughborough-based firm.
The report noted that Intelligent Energy already has ties to Apple with former Apple Computers product specialist Joe O’Sullivan sitting on the company’s board and a new office in San Jose not far from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino.
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On its website, Intelligent Energy lists solutions for automotive, distributed power & generation, and consumer electronics. It describes the technology for consumer electronics as air cooled fuel cell systems that “utilise low power fans to provide cooling and the oxidant supply for operation.” The solution includes a complete set of components that integrate with the fuel cell stack so that electricity is produced. The company is also behind UPP, a product that acts as a portable battery but uses replaceable cartridges and the company’s fuel cell technology to charge mobile devices (pictured below, right).
While there have been rumors that Apple could attempt to use solar or a fuel cell system to supplement battery life in future devices, we’ve yet to receive any actual proof the technology is indeed being tested for mobile devices. Apple does work with a number of partners, such as Bloom Energy, for fuel cell technology related to its data centers and clean energy projects, and it also has fuel cell related patents that do mention the use of the technology for mobile devices and other products. We’ve reached out to Apple for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.