PARIS (AFP) — French researchers said on Wednesday they had invented a hydrogen fuel cell as a backup power source for mobile phones, thus easing dependence on an electricity supply to charge the gadget.
The miniature fuel cell uses a hydrogen-filled cartridge about the size of a small cigarette lighter, according to the press presentation made by the researchers at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEW).
The gadget, designed to be carried in a belt pouch, has been in gestation since 2005 with a semi-conductor group, STMicroelectronics.
The cartridges are being developed by the company Bic, which makes pens, lighters and razors.
The product is designed to be part of a "hybrid" system in which the phone first draws on the conventional battery for its power and then taps into the fuel cell if needed.
Each cartridge gives the equivalent of three to five recharges of the traditional battery.
It is due to reach the market in early 2010, according to STMicroelectronics executive Igor Bimbaud, who declined to give its price.
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