Avid smartphone users worry that their phone's battery will die when they are in the middle of something important. Now a Swedish company called myFC hopes to allay those concerns with a fuel cell that can fit in a pocket and provide power to a phone using little more than salt and water. The JAQ is about as big as a wallet and generates power without being connected to the grid. Fuel is provided from a tank about the size of a credit card that contains water and salt, the combination of which is turned into hydrogen, which then powers the cell. "Our device is intended for users who want to be independent from the power grid while they are out and about," My Ernevi of myFC said. His system will charge a smartphone within two hours after a fuel cell is inserted. The system has a total capacity of 2,400 milliampere hours. Nevertheless, when a card runs out of power, it can just be thrown away.
"Data transmission has come to take on much more importance than basic telephoning," Ernevi said. "But that means a lot more power is used." He explained that the main advantage his system has over rechargers that work with batteries is that his system does not require charging up before it can be used to power up a phone. The JAQ starts providing power as soon as the water-and-salt package is inserted. No price has been set for the individual fuel-component cards, which would be available at kiosks and gas stations. There are also plans for some kind of subscription service and cooperation with mobile phone service providers. The JAQ is expected to hit markets in November, with initial releases in Sweden, Germany, the U.S., Japan and France. The entire package consisting of a fuel cell and a few power source cards is expected to cost around 90 euros.