The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has awarded a patent for ‘fuel cell system‘ to Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL). The tech giant’s built-in ‘fuel cell system’ will convert fuel into electric power, enhancing the battery life of Apple’s devices.
According to the application, its internal power system could power a MacBook or an iPhone for weeks or days without refueling. Apple describes a way to integrate fuel cell power sources into electronics, without adding extra weight. Fuel cells are known to store more power in a small package, when compared to existing batteries.
The fuel cell system will include removable cartridges that is likely to solve the problem of low battery life, and it will be a more compact and environmentally friendly system.
Fuel cells are designed to be portable charging, but Apple plans to build it directly into electronic devices. These fuel cells create electricity by combining hydrogen with an oxidizing agent such as air or oxygen. The technology has gained traction in the recent years as it is considered as an alternative to oil and gas.
Though hydrogen is commonly used for fuel cells, Apple’s patent has outlined potential fuel sources, such as sodium borohydride and water, lithium hydride and water, sodium silicate and water, magnesium hydride and water and others.
However, this is not the first patent to be filed on fuel cell system. In 2011, the company filed a similar application for “portable computing device,” and in March the USPTO awarded a patent application for external fuel cells to power mobile devices.
Apple is set to trial the technology by replacing the old batteries in MacBooks. The technology will then make its way into smartphones and smartwatches in the future. Battery life is considered to be a drawback in feature-rich phones, and this could provide a solution to smartphones in the future.