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Report: Apple looking into Macbooks powered by fuel cells

Consumer Reports News: December 23, 2011 11:38 AM

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Could your next Apple MacBook laptop be powered by hydrogen?

The AppleInsider website recently uncovered two patent applications filed by the Apple Company with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: "Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device" and "Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device."

Hydrogen-based fuel cell technology isn't new. But rising consumer interest in renewable energy source—as exemplified by the demand for alternative-fuel cars, such as the all-electric Nissan Leaf and gas-electric Chevy Volt—is also spurring Apple apparently. In both patent applications, Apple states:

As a consequence of increased consumer awareness, electronics manufacturers have become very interested in renewable energy sources for their products, and they have been exploring a number of promising renewable energy sources such as hydrogen fuel which is used in hydrogen fuel cells.

Apple proposes in its patent applications that fuel cell systems could power a portable computer "for days or even weeks without refueling." But cost and weight of the mobile fuel cell systems are obstacles that still need to be overcome, Apple acknowledged.

Apple investigating fuel-cell-powered MacBooks [Apple Insider]
Apple is researching fuel cell powered computers [ExtremeTech]
Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device [Free Patents Online]
Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computer Device [Free Patents Online]

Paul Eng

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