Apple Wins its First Fuel Cell ‘Game Changing’ Patent

Apple has been granted a new patent today by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regarding fuel cell technology, PatentlyApple is reporting. Apple’s invention, which may prove to be a game changer if brought to life, details that fuel cells and associated fuels can potentially achieve high volumetric and gravimetric energy densities, which could potentially enable continued operation of portable electronic devices, such as iPhones and iPads, for days or even weeks without refuelling.


The patent titled ‘Fuel Cell System’ details Apple’s invention relating to systems that use fuel cells to provide electrical power. The source highlights that the disclosed embodiments relate to a fuel cell system which is designed to provide electrical power to a portable computing device. Moreover, the invention relates to the design of a portable and cost-effective fuel cell system for a portable computing device.

“This fuel cell system includes a fuel cell stack which converts fuel into electrical power. It also includes a fuel source for the fuel cell stack and a controller which controls operation of the fuel cell system. The fuel system also includes an interface to the portable computing device, wherein the interface comprises a power link that provides power to the portable computing device, and a bidirectional communication link that provides bidirectional communication between the portable computing device and the controller for the fuel cell system.”

Apple’s patent specifically defines a “Portable electronic device” as corresponding to a laptop computer, mobile phone, personal digital assistant, portable media player, digital camera, and/or other type of compact electronic device.

The patent was originally filed by Apple in Q3 2010.