PowerTrekk instant charger powers your smartphone with water

A Swedish firm myFC has created an instant mobile charger, dubbed the PowerTrekk, which makes use of water to produce power for your smartphones. PowerTrekk mixes water with a chemical powder called sodium silicide to generate hydrogen gas that can power your cells through the fuel cell technology. The PowerTrekk was put on display at CES 2012.

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While fuel cells show a lot of promise for cleanly powering things such as electric cars, there’s something keeping them from being more widely used than they currently are – they can be expensive. More specifically, the catalysts used to accelerate the chemical processes within them tend to be pricey. Work being done at Finland’s Aalto University, however, should help bring down the cost of fuel cells. Using atomic layer deposition (ALD), researchers there are making cells that incorporate 60 percent less catalyst material than would normally be required.

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Fuel Cell System Saves the Day in Connecticut in Wake of Winter Storm Alfred

The unexpected, early arrival of ‘Winter Storm Alfred’ – a classic example of a Nor’easter – hit New England hard. Residents of the state of Connecticut were particularly hard put: on Oct. 29, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy estimated that as many as 500,000 residents were expected to be without power and that the outages were likely to be prolonged, according to a Windham Today news report.

That number was quickly increased to a historic 831,000 left in the dark, as Connecticut Power & Light president and COO Jeff Butler became the target of acerbic, scathing verbal attack. By the end of it, nearly 1 million of an estimated total 1.8 million power outages across the New England region occurred in Connecticut. Compounding the problem was the reluctance of work crews to respond to outages as they hadn’t been paid for the emergency work they did for the state in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, another “freak” storm that affected the Northeast this year.

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MIT researchers just officially unveiled a device that uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The device builds upon a breakthrough hydrogen producing technology developed in 2008, and they are calling it an “artificial leaf” because of it capacity to create chemical fuels directly from sunlight. The cell is also made from common materials like silicon, cobalt and nickel, which means that the “leaf” could potentially be mass-produced. If the technology proves itself it could create hydrogen fuel directly from the sun, which could be used for transportation, heating, and running fuel cells for electricity. Check out a video of the leaf’s bubbling action by reading on.

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Ramanathan’s Work on Solid-Oxide Fuel Cells

A team of researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences that is headed by Sriram Ramanathan is working on developing fuel cells. If Ramanathan is to be believed, the solid-oxide fuel cells the visionary and specialist in the field is making along with other scientists, will become a highly sought after technology in days to come.

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