Gizmos & Gadgets: A Fuel Cell for Smartphones, MP3 Players, eReaders, Tablets, Digital Cameras and More

Nectar Mobile Power has created a butane-powered fuel cell, the first truly portable power device designed to provide up to a month of recharges per Power Pod, each pod a hot-swappable plug-in high-energy recyclable fuel source about the size of a small cell phone battery. Marketed as the Nectar Mobile Power System, the device is equal in size to a couple of decks of playing cards. It doesn’t come cheap, priced at $299.99 U.S.

The Nectar uses a solid oxide thin film fuel cell (SOFC) to generate a +5 volt charge to any device plugged into it. It can power a wide range of electronic devices through its USB 2.0-compatible port. Each Power Pod stores 55,000 MW-hours of energy in a single cartridge.

Why and where would you use it? When power goes out like it did for a number of days when Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012, the Nectar would have been an ideal emergency power source. Typically, however, it would be used for travel in areas where conventional power sources are nonexistent. Each of the hot-swappable Power Pods can provide enough juice to power a single device such as a smartphone for up to a month or about 10 charges.

You can pre-order a Nectar before January 28, 2013. The first order comes with two Power Pods. Additional Power Pods are sold for $19.99 a pair. Nectar will begin shipping in summer 2013.


Nectar Mobile Power

Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...