Apple Pursuing Fuel Cell Tech for PowerBooks?

Discussion in 'MacRumors News Discussion (archive)' started by MacRumors, Jun 25, 2003.

  1. macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001
    MacEdition posts an interesting update... reporting that Apple is actively pursuing Fuel Cell technology to power future PowerBooks:

    MacEdition, however, also reports that Intel is seeking out the same companies -- and trying to lock Apple out with attempts to gain exclusive agreements. Apple appears to be so interested, that the report indicates they are willing to build future PowerBooks around Fuel Cell designs rather than vice-versa.

    Related Info:

    What is a Fuel Cell?
    Space-age computer power
  2. acj
    macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2003
    Not new

    This isn't new. I've seen some other interesting technologies that may be used in notebooks. One is a nano-sized generator that runs off a cartridge of butaine. It would produce less emmisions than a person, so ti would be safe on an airplane (minus the compressed butane part!). Recharges would be instant. I doubt either company will lock out the other, regardless of who's first.
  3. macrumors 601


    Mar 12, 2002
    BrisVegas, Australia
    sounds cool. must be good stuff if Apple will change the PowerBooks to meet the fuel cell requirements. i'll have to read up on this...
  4. macrumors 68000


    Feb 3, 2002
    did you see the diagram? this thing doesnt need recharging. it takes in the AIR and generates heat water and electricity. this by FAR wipes the floor with a butane cartridge. this is just as wonderful as solid state devices. fuel cells are incredible.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Dec 2, 2002
    Los Angeles
    powerbook gas stations anybody?

    this is really cool stuff, but wat i dont get, is whats actually providing the power here; what is the base raw material here? obiously you cant plug this baby into the wall to power it... so are we going to have to "fill up" our fuel cell powered laptops every time the battery is depleted? seems kinda goofy to me!:p

    actually you need hydrogen to power this, not just air. i knew this when i posted this reply, but im just wondering where/how/what form we'd get the hydrogen in.
  6. macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2003
    i didn't read the article, nor do i know anything about fuel cells, but couldn't you get the hydrogen from bringing in the air and seperating the hydrogen from the oxygen (from H2O, which air has plenty of)?
  7. macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2002
    LA la land...
    just powerbooks?

    why would this be limited to powerbooks? Seems like a larger unit could power a desktop - a smaller one an iPod.
  8. macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2002
    LA la land...
    It takes energy to separate the Hydrogen from the Oxygen - defeating the purpose...

    The info about fuel cells is from 2000 - I wonder how far the tech has come?
  9. macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2003
    Brisbane, Australia
    would be great if Apple could own some of the fundamental intellectual property on these fuel cells - would certainly help shut out competitors!!!
  10. macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2002
    LA la land...
  11. macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2003
    Re: just powerbooks?

    Most desktops can be plugged into a wall :)

    It would be great when fuel cells are so competitive everything can go "off the grid", but it will still be a while.
  12. macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2003
    Reston, VA
    one of the laws of thermal dynamics states that you can not create or destroy matter or engery; however, you can change it. My question is, because of this, where would the by product go? There has to be some form of waste, and if there is, then it will probably be hydrogen, which too much of in the atmosphere would cause the ozone to be depleted. So it would actually be harmful to the environment to use your computer, and that's not what Al Gore would endorse now is it?
  13. arn
    macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    you realize that would require power?

  14. arn
    macrumors god


    Staff Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    waste is water...

  15. macrumors 604


    Aug 9, 2002
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    I just want to add to this a bit. A fuel cell brings in Air for Oxygen and then through a reaction very similar to a catalytic reaction it combines the hydrogen with the oxygen and in the process a stray electron is released creating electricity. Once the Hydrogen and Oxygen is combined you get H2O/water. There is not wasted hydrogen since the only way for Hydrogen to escape is by combining with the Oxygen.

    The only way Hydrogen could leak into the atmosphere would be at the refueling stations and really there is no reason for leakage there the equipment for moving high pressure gas can easily build in such a way that there is no waste. Also the people saying the hydrogen will hurt the Ozone from what I have seen don't really know what they are talking about. Hydrogen is the lightest element and gas known to man. An excess buildup of hydrogen in the atmosphere can only displace the Ozone not break it down but it won't even do that since it is so light that an excess build up will actually push to highest reaches of the atmosphere where it is actually blown off by solar winds.
  16. Guest

    Since those fuel cells are powered with ethanol....

    .... it means you got "Schnaps to go" with your Powerbook, boys *grins*

  17. macrumors regular

    May 29, 2002
    Knoxville Tenneesse
    How did this even make it to the front page?

    Ok fuel cells sound great, but lets be real folks. We are talking about at least five years down the road, if not more. This is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo second page news. Blast me if you want to, but just call me a REALIST, this is not happening ANY time soon

    Have a great day!!!!!
  18. macrumors regular

    Jan 21, 2003
    Re: Since those fuel cells are powered with ethanol....

    "Whats that you've got powering your 22 inch PowerBook?"

    "Lagavulin 16 year, nothing but the good stuff for my baby"

    Actually most fuel cells are powered by Methanol. Which you really don't want to drink. Of course, the "cure" for methanol poisoning is to drink ethanol. now THAT'S a prescription i'd like to see more doctors hand out...

    Methanol also makes you go blind (right before it kills you) which I suppose is a pretty extreme way to "drink 'em pretty."

    Seriously though. Fuel cells are great until you run out of fuel. I have yet to see a convincing argument about why this is anything but a niche product. I can "refill" my battery from one of hundreds of millions of electrical outlets. Fuel cells may last longer, and it would take less time to "fill up" than it would to charge... but do you really want to have to keep a supply of fuel handy?

    Running out of methanol might lead to huge headaches, which would in turn require ethanol...
  19. macrumors member

    Apr 4, 2003
    UK, KENT
    Man, some people must have really skipped Chemistry!

    There is nearly no Hydrogen in the atmosphere, mainly because its so reactive, nearly all of it has reacted with oxygen to form H20, as in water. Thats why we have so large oceans. Also, water would be the waste product and that could be split into Hydrogen and Water again.

    The problem with fuel cell technology is that H20 takes lots of energy to split and the only way it can be done which doesnt damage the environment is at wind farms or sources of renewable energy. If you use coal power stations to split the compound, it will damage the environment. So the technology is there, just not the infrastructure to produce hydrogen cleanly, safely and efficiently. Until the US is 20% renewable, dont expect fuel cell cars or laptops. The way the US is going right now, think 2050.
  20. macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2003
    you didn't read the article, you don't know anything about fuel cells, and obviously you don't know basic science. H20 is water buddy, not Oxygen, and air does not have much water in it. ;)
  21. macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2001
    London, UK
    I don't think fuel cells will really be a good idea in laptops, I expect to hear stories of people blowing up their powerbooks. Fuel cells are a good idea for cars, but I don't think they will work in laptops.
  22. macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2003
    Re: Apple Pursuing Fuel Cell Tech for PowerBooks?

    This doesn't make any sense to me. Why would Intel be seeking out these battery manufacturers? Intel is a chip maker not a laptop maker. Sure if Apple gets the first fuel cell laptop out it would probably be a great success reducing demand for Intel's centrino platform, but seriously Apple would need to get a huge increase in market share (say 20-30% laptop mktshare) for Intel to be so worried as to try and stop Apple's access to fuel cells.
  23. macrumors 603


    Sep 6, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Re: Re: Apple Pursuing Fuel Cell Tech for PowerBooks?

    the striking thing is that they are supposedly locking apple out--trying to. the question is why, but it's mote about them being a silicon company than them competing with apple. wouldn't you think that Dell or HP or someone would be the ones going after this? how much of the laptop does intel actually make?
  24. macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2003
    Waste is water?!

    Ah, so, if the waste of a fuel cell is water, what does that mean for a laptop? That it'd leak all over my lap as I use it? Or would I have to attach a bag to it and take my laptop out once in a while so it could take a leak?
  25. macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2001
    London, UK
    Re: Re: Re: Apple Pursuing Fuel Cell Tech for PowerBooks?

    The only parts of the laptop Intel does not make is the case and screen. So it is posible Intel want to move to power sources since it is still electronics.

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