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Plugging your phone into the main is for suckers. What you really need is one of a new breed of microbial fuel cells to drive your phone — so you can power it with pee.
The Iowa Army Ammunition Plant (IAAAP) in Middletown, Iowa, has an overabundance of two things: corn waste and excess energetics — leftover explosives, propellants, pyrotechnics and such. But using a new ethanol-based fuel cell developed by nanoMaterials Discovery Corp (nMDC) will transform these waste materials into clean, cheap, electricity. Two birds, one catalytic reaction.
One day, fuel cells may very well be a cheap source of power for all of our electronics. But that day isn’t here yet, and from the looks of things, isn’t arriving anytime soon. A company called Lilliputian Systems has hooked up with Brookstone to create another fuel cell charger called the Nectar that promises to fully top off a smartphone from 10 to 14 times with a single recyclable cartridge, but at a premium.
The limited capabilities of batteries are the bane of all gadgets, but they’re particularly problematic for devices designed to be implanted into humans where simply plugging in a charging cable is impractical. So MIT researchers have nearly perfected a new type of fuel cell that’s powered by glucose instead.
We’ve been promised an exciting future with gadgets perpetually powered by magical fuel cells, and a company called Lilliputian Systems is taking the first steps towards tomorrow with its fuel cell-based USB charger that will soon be available from Brookstone.
Microbial fuel cells may well be the next black (or at least brown) gold. But to tap those anaerobic reserves, we’ll need a power station that can run on carbon-rich gas. Something like the DFC-3000 fuel cell — it turns biogas into power 2200 for homes and their hydrogen cars.