At any point of the digital transition,…
Thursday, October 1, 2020 12:13 k.s.a
Apple is preparing an iPhone and Macbook that will last weeks on a single charge. From lithium batteries to hydrogen fuel cells, Apple needs to switch all of its smart devices, which would boost their autonomy many times. She has two patents that explain this technology, but she still hasn’t worked out how to compress enough fuel cells.
Weeks without being recharged:
Apple has worked out how the battery life of its iPhones and other handheld devices can be significantly improved. Instead of traditional lithium batteries, she advocated the use of hydrogen fuel cells, as defined in her patent Nos. 9917340 and 8980491, entitled “Portable computing system for external fuel cell operation.” The paper states that the gadget will operate for several weeks on a single charge of such a battery.
A fuel cell is an electrochemical system which converts electrical current from raw materials (fuel). The characteristic of the element is that, when it is ingested, the fuel on which it works can be filled from the outside in parts. Power occurs in a hydrogen cell after a chemical reaction between airborne hydrogen and oxygen.
On June 28, 2018, Apple filed a first patent with the US Patent Office ( USPTO). Since then, two generations of its smartphones (iPhone Xs and iPhone 11) have been launched by the company, each using lithium batteries.
Gregory Tice (Gregory Tice), Michael Hillman (Michael Hillman) and David Simon (David Simon) are the three remaining authors of Apple’s new paper.
Advantages and drawbacks in batteries of hydrogen
Indeed, hydrogen fuel cells are able to carry a charge that is considerably longer than their lithium relatives. In addition, they are much more environmentally friendly, both in production and in use and disposal. A byproduct of converting hydrogen to electricity is ordinary water.
In a variety of new electric cars, such as the Toyota Mirai, hydrogen fuel cells are used. Owing to the utter absence of global infrastructure, such automobiles can not yet be named commercial automobiles-for instance, there are no specialist filling stations.
Moreover, hydrogen as a gas has a low density-a container of hydrogen capable of releasing as much energy as a fuel tank would have 800 times the capacity for storage at room temperature under regular conditions , compared with a petrol tank.
Why was hydrogen really needed by Apple?
In its patent, Apple also points out the complexity of containing vast volumes of hydrogen in small cells, and it is focusing on this device. Yet the main purpose is not to make greener and more robust iPhones and MacBooks.
She also calls the political issues in the definition of the patent that inspired her to initiate researching in this direction. The paper notes that the use of hydrogen as an alternative source of energy would make it possible for the United States (Apple is an American company) to reduce its reliance on the Middle East dramatically.
Why are there still no smartphones with hydrogen?
Apple points out in both of its patents discussing the use of hydrogen to power mobile devices that it is a challenge today to create a fuel cell that is small enough to fit directly into the handheld electronic unit itself. This needs considerable time and hours-of-man. Another challenge is making such a fuel cell with lithium batteries cheap and equivalent in volume and final price.
There is still no evidence on how hydrogen batteries are more powerful in terms of the autonomy of systems against the backdrop of lithium batteries in the patents. Apple also does not define how the hydrogen commodity-groundwater-would have to be disposed of by the consumer. For gadgets, Apple does not set the dates for the first fuel cells, including estimated ones.