A three-way collaboration between Japan-based Rohm, Aquafairy, and Kyoto University has resulted in the development of a smartphone-charging fuel cell—a compact, high output, portable hydrogen powered fuel cell that can generate electricity by producing hydrogen. This is achieved through a chemical reaction between calcium hydride sheets and water. The fuel cell can generate five watt hours of electricity, to charge an average smartphone within two hours. The fuel cell will be promoted for a variety of uses, from charging a smartphone to serving as a 200-watt portable generator delivering backup power.
Rohm said the new hydrogen fuel cells use a solid that creates hydrogen by adding water, generating power through "hydro-synthesis." No harmful byproducts such as carbon dioxide or VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are involved. The fuel cells can be disposed of as general waste. If the sheets are laminated and sealed, they last for twenty years, claimed a spokesman. Lithium ion batteries lose their charging ability in four to five years. Aquafairy had been developing a small fuel cell some years ago when they then started to exchange information with Rohm. Also, Rohm and Aquafairy have launched a joint project for a compact, lightweight 400-watt fuel cell system with Kinkei System.