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Researchers propose $30 portable fuel cell charger, we don't hold our breath

Tim Stevens
09.30.09
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If you believed all the fuel cell talk that's been bandied about in press releases over the years you'd have thrown away your plug-in chargers by now and started squirting alcohol into all your gadgets. Many promises have been broken, so please take this news of a supposed $30 fuel cell charger for cellphones and other mobile devices with a suitably large chunk of salt -- or some sodium-free flavor enhancer if your doctor has imposed such dietary restrictions. Scientists at the Industrial Technology Research Institute in Taiwan have created a prototype charger that runs on small tubes containing solid-state hydrogen, "plasticized" so that it is only released when mixed with water. The canisters are said to sell for $.30 a pop, leaving one researcher to say: "They could be sold at 7-Eleven." We want to write a skeptical response analyzing the feasibility of to such pricing but instead got distracted researching information about Taiwanese convenience stores. Did you know there are 4,807 7-Eleven franchise locations around Taiwan? Amazing!