World's Smallest Fuel Cell Could Power Your Gadgets

Chemical engineers working at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a hydrogen fuel cell that measures only 3 millimeters across. That could mean longer lasting, eco-friendly power for your gadgets.

This new cell utilizes only four components—a water reservoir and a chamber containing metal hydride separated by a thin membrane with an assembly of electrodes that conduct electricity underneath. Because of the small size of the cell, the team was able to eliminate the pump, pressure sensor, and controlling electronics that create such a power drain in typical fuel cells.

The first designs of the cell were capable of generating 0.7 volts and a current of 0.1 milliamps for 30 hours—but they claim that new versions can deliver 1 milliamp at a similar voltage. [New Scientist via Cleantech via DVICE]