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Apple plots smartphones powered by hydrogen

Apple is working on laptops and smartphones powered by hydrogen fuel cells that would last for weeks without needing to be refueled, patent filings have revealed.

A diagram from one of Apple’s hydrogen fuel cell patents

In two documents submitted to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the iPhone maker said its proposal “eliminates the need for a bulky and heavy battery”.

A hydrogen fuel cell converts hydrogen and oxygen into water and electrical energy.

The technology has long been touted as a potential power source for cleaner cars. Electronics manufacturers also have shown growing interest in replacing batteries that rely on toxic chemicals with hydrogen fuels cells that would last longer and produce only water as a by-product.

“Our country’s continuing reliance on fossil fuels has forced our government to maintain complicated political and military relationships with unstable governments in the Middle East, and has also exposed our coastlines and our citizens to the associated hazards of offshore drilling,” Apple says in its patent filings.

“These problems have led to an increasing awareness and desire on the part of consumers to promote and use renewable energy sources.”

July 31, 2013 - 9:02 AM