Desktop hydrogen generator turns tap water into gadget power

Why haven't hydrogen fuel cells caught on yet? I'll tell you why: you can't suck hydrogen refills out of your outlets. Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies solves this problem with a desktop generator that uses electricity to create hydrogen from water.

Horizon is going to be releasing a portable fuel cell charger that uses cartridges of hydrogen stored in a solid matrix combined with oxygen in the air to generate electricity to recharge your stuff. One single hydrogen cartridge contains 12 watt-hours of juice, which is the equivalent of ten AA batteries. Pretty sweet.

While you can buy new cartridges for cheap, a much slicker solution is to just get yourself Horizon's HydroFill desktop refilling system. Simply fill it with regular tap water, stick a spent cartridge in, and turn it on. The machine will get busy breaking up the H and the O in the H2O, and the H ends up in the cartridge while the O escapes out of a port the top, available for huffing if that's your thing. In about an hour you've got a full cartridge, and a full tank of water is good for hundreds of refills.

It's worth pointing out that using this desktop fuel station is only about 30% efficient, which means that if you get your electricity through the fuel cell that way, it's three times as expensive as if you'd gotten your power from a wall socket. Industrial hydrogen from natural gas, on the other hand, is something like 96% efficient, so the cheapest way to go is to just exchange your spent cylinders in bulk at a central filling station, kinda like propane tanks. This is a pain in the ass, though, which is why I like the refilling system so much, even if it is less efficient.

The MiniPak fuel cell charger plus a flashlight USB attachment and two full hydrogen cartridges will sell for $99, and they'll be available in the middle of this year. The HydroFill refueling system will run you about $500, and that'll be on the market closer to the end of the year.

Via Horizon

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