Smartphone users in Africa can avail hydrogen fuel cells to stay connected to the world

Published on : Monday, November 18, 2013

Smartphone-users-in-Africa-can-avail-hydrogen-fuel-cellsSmartphone users in Africa will have to worry no more as an alternative means to overcome power shortage in the world’s poorest continent has been developed. With potable chargers that relies on hydrogen fuel cells one can travel safely in Africa.

There are plans of rolling out 1 million of the new chargers in mid-December by the British company Intelligent Energy. These charges will mainly cater to Nigeria and South Africa. In Nigeria these chargers have been tested for the last five years.

It is important to establish grids that are reliable. The chargers are designed to back up the spread of smartphones and tablets across countries where cellphones have already helped to transform lives, businesses and tourism.

Industry body GSMA, which represents about 800 of the world’s mobile operators, said in its latest report that smartphones were key to boosting mobile Internet access in sub-Saharan Africa where current penetration of 4 percent of the population lags the global average of 17 percent.

Ericsson predicts that smartphone traffic in Africa will increase tenfold between 2013 and 2019, when around 476 million devices will be in use.

The hydrogen chargers, which fit easily into a handbag, consist of a fuel cell and a non-disposable cartridge that can be detached when exhausted. Consumers could expect to pay less than $5 dollars to “refuel” a cartridge of the charger.

This would translate to a cost of less than $1 to charge a phone, he said, adding that final costs would ultimately depend on how telecoms companies marketed and sold the product.

If bought over the counter, the entire device will cost under $200, although options being considered include $10 a month for a two-year contract or getting it for free.

Besides Intelligent Energy, Japan’s Aquafairy has also been developing fuel cell chargers. Other companies, such as Dubai-based developer Solarway, have launched solar powered kiosks designed for communities that are not linked to a power grid, each capable of charging up to 40 cell phones a day.

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