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1/17/2012
12:45 PM
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PowerTrekk's Phone Charger: Just Add Water

Need to recharge your phone? Add your favorite water or beverage to the PowerTrekk Fuel Cell, and you get battery juice, no matter where you are.

Smartphones: Never Too Thin Or Too Organic
Smartphones: Never Too Thin Or Too Organic
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
How often does this happen to you? You're out hiking the Tongariro Northern Circuit in the North Island of New Zealand, munching cautiously on hand-made granola and drinking Yak milk. You're contemplating the meaning of life and whether you remembered to turn off your iron (and asking yourself why you have one in the first place), and then it occurs to you: I need to call someone to go make sure. You look down, and your iPhone isn't charged, and there are certainly no outlets in sight (and you think: I just drank Yak milk; who have I become?!).

Just pull out your PowerTrekk fuel cell, trickle in a teaspoon (8 ml) or so of water (or anything in your backpack with a little H2O--beer, Gatorade, whatever you have) into the water chamber, and the PowerTrekk will do its magic and provide you with 5 watt-hours of charge, which is enough to charge up the entire phone, or camera, or GPS, or whatever device you might have.

The fuel cell was developed by myFC and is distributed by Industrial Revolution in North America. It will be available in outdoor specialty stores like REI and uses simple chemistry: the water mixes with sodium silicide, which extracts the water's oxygen to create sodium silicate; the hydrogen is released in the process and is forced through the membrane of the fuel cell to create 2.5 watts of electricity. The device also includes a 1590 mA battery to capture any leftover energy.

[ Consider another option for charging your phone. nVolt Recharges Phone With A Spin. ]

The PowerTrekk is a bit pricey: $229 for the device, which includes iGo cables to connect from the device's USB cables to whatever you've got (there's one for the iPhone, too). The hydrogen cartridge pucks used in this process will cost around $3 each, and can only be used once, although they are recyclable, and the company will re-use them (just drop them back off at the retail store).

While the price is high, the company isn't targeting the typical hotel-going mobile device user, but those who do, indeed, travel a bit further away from civilization (and electricity), in which case having an emergency charge may be worth the money, especially if you're rich enough to drink Yak milk.

The PowerTrekk ships in May.

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Tom LaSusa
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Tom LaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/30/2012 | 3:52:28 PM
re: PowerTrekk's Phone Charger: Just Add Water
Very cool! Thanks for sharing this, Fritz
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