Apple has applied for two hydrogen fuel cell patents. Citing consumer awareness about fossil fuel's environmental and political impact, the move indicates the company has been looking into a new system to recharge their portable device batteries for over a year.
"As a consequence of this increased consumer awareness," one application stated, "electronics manufacturers have become very interested in developing renewable energy sources for their products, and they have been exploring a number of promising renewable energy sources such as hydrogen fuel cells."
The application goes on to say: "Hydrogen fuel cells have a number of advantages. Such fuel cells and associated fuels can potentially achieve high volumetric and gravimetric energy densities, which can potentially enable continued operation of portable electronic devices for days or even weeks without refueling."
Using hydrogen fuel cells to power mobile devices is nothing new. Horizon's MINIPAK and Toshiba's Dynario have been on the market for years, yet they aren't exactly small enough to integrate with mobile phones unless you're going for the Zack Morris look, 80's brick cell phone included.
However, Apple says their sleek fuel cell design would be able to eliminate the need for a bulky battery pack.
The patent applications were published by the US Patent & Trademark Office last week. The first patent, "Fuel Cell System to Power a Portable Computing Device", was filed in August 2010, while the second patent, "Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device" was filed in April 2011, suggesting Apple has had their eye on this technology for a while.