THE DAYS OF plugging in your smartphone at midday could soon be over as handsets with a week-long battery life are just two years away.
So says British fuel-cell maker Intelligent Energy Holdings. The company, best known for its work on a hydrogen-powered London black cab, has turned its attention to crap smartphone battery life and is working on a technology that could mean having to charge a smartphone only once a week.
Intelligent Energy announced this week that it has signed a joint development agreement with an unknown smartphone manufacturer, which has chucked £5.25m at the Loughborough-based company. The two companies will work together on embedded fuel-cell technology for mobile devices.
A fuel-cell-powered phone could be on the market in two years if the partnership goes to plan, the company told Bloomberg.
Julian Hughes, acting managing director for Intelligent Energy’s Consumer Electronics division, said: “We have been working with the OEM over recent weeks, demonstrating what our hydrogen fuel-cell technology can achieve when embedded in a smartphone.
“We believe that embedding fuel cell technology into portable devices provides a solution to the current dilemma of battery life. Consumers demand more and more from their phones, and battery innovation has not kept up.”
The company noted that the technology will be best suited to those living without access to a power grid, such as in large parts of Africa.
“What we offer is a solution that is clean and efficient and means consumers could be truly mobile and free from the constraints of the grid,” Hughes added.
The University of Cambridge achieved a breakthrough in battery technology last year that could allow smartphones and electric cars to run for days on a single charge.
Scientists at the university developed a working laboratory demonstration of a lithium-oxygen battery that offers 10 times the energy density of a standard lithium-ion cell and can be charged over 2,000 times.