Power Air Corp exhibited the ZPAC 40, an external recharger using a fuel cell intended for mobile phones, at International CES 2008.
The ZPAC 40 can adjust the output voltage in accordance with the portable device to which it is connected. The recharger features a high power capacity of 40Wh, which is enough to fully recharge a mobile phone more than 10 times, the company said.
It is slated for shipment in Sept 2008. The wholesale prices to retailers are expected to be US$30 for the model that comes with cables for different types of connectors and US$20 without the cables.
The main feature of Power Air's fuel cell is that zinc (Zn) and air are supplied to the anode and cathode, respectively. It does not require an electrolyte membrane. Instead, the space between the electrodes is filled with a KOH solution. Unlike a direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC), the migration of OH-, not proton (H+), causes the power generation. The principle of generation is as follows.
Cathode: 1/2 O2 + H2O + 2e- → 2OH-
Anode: Zn + 2OH- → ZnO + H2O + 2e-
Overall reaction: Zn + 1/2 O2 → ZnO
As can be seen from the reaction formulae, the fuel cell will not generate CO2, and Zn used as a fuel is quite safe because it is not flammable, the company said.
The external recharger measures about 102 x 63.5 x 19mm and weighs about 310g. The total power generation time is 90 days. The recharger can be reserved for up to 2 years if it is unused for the power generation. The fuel cell is integrated with the recharger and is reportedly recyclable.
The company also exhibited a fuel cell system using zinc that features a 1kW class rated output in its booth.