Hands up if you’ve ever had to go into a café and ask the owner if they have an iPhone charger you could borrow, just-for-five-minutes-please, because you got carried away playing Candy Crush and now your beloved lifeline is cold and dead. “I’m on my way to meet my mum,” you say (you always say you’re going to meet your mum, even if you’re not), “and my phone’s out of battery and I’m just really worried that she won’t know where to meet me.”
If you’ve ever had to attempt anything even vaguely similar – if the thought of your battery dying strikes fear into your heart, and yet it seems to happen all the time – rejoice. Developers at a Swedish software company have developed a portable phone charger that fits into your pocket and runs on nothing more than water and salt.
Dubbed the ‘JAQ’, the charger generates enough green electricity to charge a smartphone at the same rate as a plug socket. You simply slot a credit card-sized fuel cell into the charger, connect it to your phone with a cable, and voila: instant, magical power.
If, like us, you’ve no idea what a ‘fuel cell' is, here are the basics. Unlike batteries, which store energy, fuel cells actively generate it – creating zero pollution along the way. The fuel cell used to power the JAQ runs on water and salt, which it converts into green electricity.
Sadly, this doesn’t mean you’ll soon be able to charge your phone with nothing more than a trip to the tap, as the JAQ fuel cells have to be bought separately. But they are super-portable, and they also represent a real leap in eco-friendly technology.
Our reliance on phones, laptops and tablets means we’re more dependent on electricity than ever – and that mostly means depending on fossil fuels. (The UK only gets 25 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, such as wind farms.) While we love our phones, we’re not such huge fans of climate change, so any invention that cuts down our impact on the environment gets a yes from us.
The JAQ won’t be available until later in the year, but you can pre-book one on the myFc website here.
Images: myFC / Thinkstock