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Future MacBooks Could Be Powered by Fuel Cells

Illustration for article titled Future MacBooks Could Be Powered by Fuel Cells

The latest patent application to come out of Cupertino could allow for new Macbooks that are slimmer, lighter, greener and could provide power for days without a charge. What's the magic ingredient? Fuel cells!

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Dredged up by Apple Insider, Apple's patent indicates that hydrogen fuel cells would be used to send and receive power from a battery. But they also admit that developing a product which is small enough and cheap enough to be placed in one of their laptops will be a challenge. And oddly enough, they interject some opinions about the U.S.'s reliance on fossil fuels and alliances with unstable Middle Eastern governments. Not that I necessarily disagree, it's just strange to be reading that in a patent app.

IN ANY CASE, I want fuel cells in my laptop. I want them NOW. [Patent 1, 2 via AppleInsider via Ubergizmo]

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DISCUSSION

1) I don't see how this changes our dependency on fossil fuels. We would still have to use the "grid" to recharge this just as much as we would a battery (it's not stating the effiency of the laptop would improve, just the electrical storage capacity). If they are replaceable fuel cells that we purchase "pre charged" one could argue this would increase use of fossil fuels due to the need to distribute new and spent cells back and forth from a facility. At best, the cells are recharged at home (less likely since you'd need pure hydrogen). Of course if they are sent to a facility it could use "green" energy to recharge it (wind, solar, etc). Perhaps they could use "hydrogen" fuel cell trucks for transportation. A lot has to go into this new "battery" technology to really reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. While at it, use less plastic in everything in the process since they are most likely derived from petroleum.

2). The patent itself says there is still a battery, so the fuel cell merely charges the battery for you. So all of the evils that come with rechargeable batteries still exist. We just add a layer of complexity t the system in exchange for longer use while not plugged in.

3). I'm assuming it has to be a closed system since Hydrogen fuel cells produce water as a by product. If not I'd be worried about having a water producing fuel cell that close to my electronics.

I reserve the right to be completely off on my 3 statements above. Just calling it as I see it :D