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Two firms announce competing fuel cell phone chargers

updated 11:30 am EST, Sat January 10, 2009

Fuel cells reach consumers

Long-awaited fuel cell technology is about to reach consumers, and two companies are showing off competing technologies at CES. Medis Technologies is using alkaline technology in its squeeze-to-activate power packs, while Horizon Fuel Cell Tehnology is using compact hydrogen-based cylinders about the size of conventional flashlight batteries.

Medis' non-flammable borohydride-based technology is similar to that used in alkaline batteries "without producing any polluting emissions," according to the company. When a fuel cell is depleted, it can be recycled using the included container. The cell ships in a deactivated condition so it can be stored for long periods of time -- a squeeze brings it to life.

Medis is showcasing three products at CES. The 24/7 Fuel Cell Power Pak is designed for small electronic devices like iPods and cellphones, delivering 20 hours of continuous power. Medis estimates the cell can charge a smartphone up to 4 times and a conventional cellphone 6 times. The $25 power pack comes with a one-watt charger cable with a nokia tip and adaptors for standard USB, mini USB, micro USB, and the Palm Treo.

Designed for power-hungry smartphones, the Xtreme Portable Fuel CellPower Solution adds a more powerful 4-watt charger cable for $50. The Fuel Cell Emergency Kit includes the charger cable, tips and an LED flashlight in a plastic case for $60.

The 24/7 Fuel Cell Power Pak is available now at some Best Buy stores, the other two products should be available next month.

Medis' chief competitor, Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, has been around several years, selling educational kits that showcase proprietary solid form hydrogen-based cells. Horizon is preparing to release the MiniPak, a cellphone charger using stainless steel fuel cell cartridges.

Horizon says each cartridge is equivalent to 4 AA batteries, but in a smaller, recyclable form factor that contains no lead, mercury or cadmium. The product is being billed as a cost-effective high-performance green alternative to conventional batteries. Some environmentalists might not consider any disposable product to be green, but the company says its working on a home refilling kit or a system for exchanging used cells for new ones.

The MiniPak delivers about one watt through a USB socket for charging iPods and other small devices. About the size of a pocket camera, the MiniKit could be available this year. Final pricing has not been set, but company officials say the fuel cell cartridges are expected to sell for under $10.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Medis vs. Horizon

    Medis is manufacturing now, and will be widely distributed in February. They currently have production capability of 1.5 million units per month, and with sales, could add another 3 million for a greatly reduced capex. They will create the market for such devices and have a leg up on the competition to produce a refillable one as they prove out the market. They have a prototype refillable also, but its production will await the securing of financing or a strategic partner.

    Horizon is still talking about a prototype and guesstimates on pricing. Looks nice, but let's see them finance, build, distribute, and sell at those price points. Fat chance!!

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Medis Technologies = JOKE

    Medis is a bad and obvious joke. Some crtical thinking, please!

    There is a whole world of external power solutions that provide (as Medis claims) multiple tips to adapt to multiple devices. Those solutions use rechargeable lithium ion batteries, and others use ordinary AA or AAA batteries which can be rechargeable.

    ALL of those are FAR better and far greener than Medis junk, which charges so slowly and anaemically they had to ADD a battery to grab the output. But the Medis junk is dramatically inferior in every way to existing products. Consider:

    - Medis charges very slow (it won't power a dead phone, at least unless you haven't waited hours and hours for it to charge its external battery)

    - Medis has trivial shelf-life. One "activated" it lasts weeks (at best) whether used or not, and before activation Medis only claims it lasts 18 months. Compare ordinary AA batteries which last 5 YEARS (even if use has started).

    - Medis gets tossed. Well, a $20 part of it gets tossed. Compare every other solution which is rechargeable. Where's the green?

    Medis contains caustic toxic chemicals like any alkaline battery -- which it is (basically a BAD alkaline battery) using old and well known technology that has been largely ignored for good reasons for portable solutions. At at recent competition by the Department of Defense for portable fuel cells, Medis didn't survive the competition -- it never got off the workbench compared to other REAL fuel cells. Medis: proven junk! proven inferior!

    Look into Medis history and you'll see it has promised radical automobile motors, anti-cancer vaccines, refrigerator technology (for which Medis claimed major multinationals were already onboard) and a dozen or more crazy inventions (train levitation remains my favorite) with production either claimed (such as cellscan) or claimed would be starting soon. REALITY: no revenue since 1992.

    Just Google "Medis technologies" Microsoft to see the lie that this technology is new -- Medis is always claiming deals, and they all amount to NO money. No one wants what it has.

    What's saddest about Medis is how it tosses around "alternative energy" and "green" despite the fact it is involves neither. But some are fooled.

    Who's born every minute?


    Look at real test data by an engineer



  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Previous Post

    The previous post was made by an attorney who has been claiming for years by posting all over the internet that Medis is a fraud and had no intent to ever build and sell its fuel cell product. FACT. My understanding is that he was at one time dissed by a fuel cell newsletter writer who supports Medis, and has since held a grudge.

    Visit a Best Buy in February, pick one up in your hands, and judge for yourself whether or not this man is believable. Then, if the features of the product meet your needs for a price you find affordable, buy it. If you have identified a product that will meet those needs for a lesser price, don't buy it. If it fails to perform as claimed, return it for a refund. Simple as that. Ignore cranks such as this one who has helped shorts drive down the stock price of the company just as it was coming to market. It is now rebounding - let's see what the market makes of the company after CES and the product hits store shelves.

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