Expensive fuel-cell charger promises 'free' energy

For decades, the entire energy industry has been hearing about how awesome hydrogen fuel cells are. Finally one company is putting some H2 where its mouth is: Horizon just announced pricing for its portable fuel-cell charger for gadgets that we heard about in January, which should be available later this year.

The charger expends hydrogen to juice up your portables via USB connection. So where do you get the hydrogen, and how do you put it into the MiniPAK? Good questions, and Horizon has you covered: A HydroFILL tank for your home extracts hydrogen from water. In keeping with the green philosophy, it can be powered via AC outlet or solar panel. The tank deposits the hydrogen into battery-size Hydrostiks, which can be easily slipped into the MiniPAK (and presumably future devices).

The cost of all this future energy tech? That would be $500 for the HydroFILL tank, $100 for the MiniPAK charger, and $10 for each Hydrostik. Sounds pretty high, for sure, though keep in mind all this stuff is reusable and if you power the tank with solar (another $650, natch), it's essentially giving you free energy. On top of that, each Hydrostik is rated to store 12 watt-hours of energy. To compare, a AA battery has about two.

Still, that's a lot of cash to shell out for the privilege of riding the fuel-cell wave. Considering I can power my entire home for months for that kind of money, I think I'll wait for the second generation on this tech, thanks.

Horizon, via Engadget

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