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The Fuel Cell Power Pack That Fits in Your Hand

Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies recently shared details on the Minipak, a palm-sized fuel cell power pack. With a maximum output of 3 watts, it's designed to power pocket gadgets like cell phones, portable gaming consoles, and handheld GPS units.

The company claims that its use of "solid-state" hydrogen storage makes for a very safe device, which should allay the fears of an impressionable audience mindful of Arnold's death in Terminator 3. The Minipak draws power from replaceable "HydroSTIK" cartridges, which carry around 15 watt-hours of energy, or enough to recharge one gadget two to three times.

Horizon's product currently costs $99. The company has promised a price drop to $29 once mass production kicks in however. Horizon also says that the HydroSTIK cartridges cost as much as a pair of one-shot alkaline batteries.

The use of fuel cells—traditionally considered a clean source of energy—for portable power seems promising. But are customers willing to commit to a regular HydroSTIK purchase routine? Not if other, cheaper sources of energy are easier to tap.

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