water power for USB devices


I got a little carried away at the GoalZero booth at Expo, especially the portable devices and chargers.

On the hunt for more small portable power sources, I found this water powered fuel cell for USB devices from myFC in Stockholm. It’s being marketed as the PowerTrekk , a 2-in1 battery pack with a fuel cell.

Unlike other fuel cells it requires no pump, increasing efficiency and reducing weight. Inside the cartridge is a flexible foil strip about as thick as a band-aid that contains the exchange membrane and fuel. Just add water, and plug in your device. The only by-product is a little water vapor. Here’s a video of it being used.

It was introduced last year at trade shows, from what I can tell it’s scheduled for availability in Fall of 2011, price estimated to be around $200.

It's about the same size as the GoalZero rockout speakers.


You’re right the other component of the reaction is the fuel cell, marketed as the “PowerPukk”.

As for the capacity of the device, the replaceable fuel cells according to SiGNa Chemistry:

“The PowerTrekk's built-in Li-ion battery buffer has a capacity of 5.9 Wh (1600 mAh, 3.7 V) and the device has a rated output of 5V, 1000 mA and rated input of 5V, 500 mA. The PowerPukk Fuel Cartridge can be swapped out without interrupting the supply of power to the attached mobile device.

One cartridge is said to provide the device with enough power to fully charge a smartphone's battery, but myFC says that "if the internal battery/buffer is full it will charge more than 2 smartphones or 15 iPods."

As for cost, they are aware that they are competing with batteries, but as the product is not released yet, no price has been set. From page 41 here, “ compared to batteries, each power pack is going to have to be cheaper than a 4 pack of AA batteries in order to be competitive”

A friend of mine was asked to review the product, and let me know about it. I thought it was an interesting product, full of possibility.