Having to charge one's smartphone is always a hassle. Now a new credit card-shaped device uses salt water and oxygen to convert chemical energy into electricity. Is this the end of traditional chargers?
Swedish startup MyFC unveiled its cool technology, dubbed JAQ, at the CES 2016 on Jan. 6. The device, small enough to fit in the pocket, uses fuel cells to charge smartphones.
The JAQ smartphone charger is trying to change lithium-ion batteries for hydrogen power cells. It is now dubbed the world's smallest and most powerful fuel charger. The company says it is the future of portable charging.
JAQ provided an alternative to plugging a charger into a socket by creating a sealed credit-card shaped device containing salt and water. Once the card is inserted into the charger, its ten hydrogen fuel cells can convert the energy produced from the chemical reaction into 1,800 milliampere-hours (mAh) of charging power. That is about the energy needed an iPhone 6s or a Samsung Galaxy S6 needs to be fully charged. Charging a phone can be done by plugging it into the port with a standard USB cable.
These "power cards" are single-use and recyclable. Each card will carry the energy needed to charge the average smartphone and it is able to discharge for up to two hours before it is used up. Travelers can easily keep 10 to 20 power cards with them to last the whole trip as each one weighs only 40 grams each while the charger weighs a mere 180 grams.
Since the charger itself requires cards every time a smartphone is charged, the company is planning merge with partners so they can give the charger out for free through cell carriers. They also want the power cards to be a part of phone plans included in monthly bills.
MyFC has not discussed about pricing of JAQ, but it estimates that it'll be about $5 a month for a continuous supply of cards.
Fuel Cell Technology
Fuel cells are devices that generate electricity through a chemical reaction. Hydrogen, its basic fuel, can produce a tiny amount of direct current. An advantage of using fuel cell is that it uses chemical reactions to produce electricity rather than by combustion. These devices are more efficient in extraction energy from fuel. Plus, they're cost-effective and more environment-friendly.
"The first generations of our chargers were creating power from water and a puck of salt. Now, the new PowerCard still has the water and ordinary salt (NaCI), but it's delivered in a contained slim card. When the card is inserted into the charger - hydrogen is produced which in turn fuels up the fuel cell," MyFC wrote in its website. "Fuel cell technology is a green way of producing electricity. It doesn't use any fossil fuels and doesn't generate any residuals products."