Water to Charge Mobile Phones?

Sustainability of ICTs in the developing world is one of the most crucial issues in ICT4D. Millions of people now have cell phones, but with limited infrastructure in most of the developing world, charging these precious devices is a big challenge for their users. Last week, we looked at a few different models for wireless phone chargers that relied on solar energy in place of the plugs and wires that we have all grown accustomed too.

Now, there may be a new breakthrough in the cell phone chargers – H20. Seems contradictory, but Swedish group, myFC, says it has created a water-powered charger that converts water into electricity. Presented at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the PowerTrekk is a portable fuel cell charger which is slightly larger than a compact camera, uses just one spoonful of water and a small metallic device called a fuel puck, to fully charge an iPhone. According to  Bjorn Westerholm, “It could be sea water, fresh water. You need to carry water with you to survive anyway and the PowerTrekk needs just one spoonful.”

Meanwhile, other groups are racing to come up with their own solution to the charging dilemma. Battery giant Duracell is championing a push for cars and even stadiums to be built with energy “mats” that would power up phones. XPAL Power rolled out a phone with a battery that “lasts 15 years,” said Christian Scheder, chairman of the Californian firm.The so-called Spareone, which will be commercialised in March, remains charged for up to 15 years if the phone is turned off, and for two months if it is on.

“This is great for emergency, disaster situations,” Scheder said.

With all of these new technologies, who knows what the future has in store. With the right gadget, the developing world could stay connected without the worries of wires.

The PowerTrekk could appeal most to campers, aid workers or the military   The PowerTrekk water charger

“Mobile phone running low on battery? Charge up with water”

2 responses to “Water to Charge Mobile Phones?

  • etherspace

    I love the idea of this water powered charger. Water is necessary for life and like the wind or the sun, it can be found for free. I can see the potential applications of this technologies both in developing countries and during disasters or emergencies. It could even be used as an everyday green energy option in the developed nations. My one question is cost. While the concept is sustainable, is it an option for people who do not have money to spare?

  • ssimon1

    I thought the same thing when I was reading this article. If it is affordable, this seems like it could have so much potential to make life a lot easier for impoverished people across the globe. If they can create a water-powered cell phone charger, could something even bigger using water eventually come about? Water-powered electricity could transform disaster relief. I know hydro-powered energy exists already, but this new technology could make powering electronic devices even easier.

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