BRUNTON Hydrogen Reactor

Fuel cells are one of the most promising technologies when it comes to future energy solutions. Taking advantage of the latest advances, Brunton is now introducing a portable hydrogen fuel cell for use on your outdoor adventures. The Hydrogen Reactor is the size of a smartphone and charges all your gadgets like camera, phone, GPS, and even iPad via USB.

The fuel cell works by using small cartridges of pure hydrogen as the cell’s source of energy. Inside the device, the hydrogen reacts with oxygen from the ambient air and produces up to 8500 mAh electric power per core. This is enough to charge your iPhone up to five times, with each charge taking about an hour.

The Hydrogen Reactor is environmentally safe, as it uses non-toxic chemicals and is fully rechargeable. When the core is empty, Brunton will offer charging stations at local retailers (where water and electricity are used to produce pure hydrogen) or cartridge exchange programs. Filled cartridges can be taken along in your checked in baggage with most airlines, so hopefully won't present too much of a hassle if you are traveling for your outdoor adventure. 

With a retail price of around $200 or €150 when it is released next spring, and refilled cartridges running at around $8 or €6, will the fuel cell really become more viable than solar power for outdoor use? The upside is you can charge your electronics regardless of the weather or situation. 

Similarly, the Kickstarter project HALO is a fuel cell for charging your gadgets outdoors. The HALO is a solid oxide or ceramic fuel cell (SOFC) that produces electricity from the high operating temperature and oxidization of your camp stove fuel while you cook.

So, it looks like companies are really starting to experiment with fuel cells as viable options for outdoor charging solutions. Would you try it or would you rather stick to solar?

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  1. Great for places where the sun don’t shine (no pun intended) and solar panel don’t work, and where a lot of charges from the unit would be desirable before one could gain main power access again (long trip). For the occasional use where a single charge from the unit would be needed I prefer the idea of a Li-Ion external battery to charge my devices, at a much cheaper cost.
    Expedition and (extended) emergency use: yes. Weekend warrior, maybe not?

  2. have you guys heard of the PowerPot? it doesnt run out of fuel(since you can use it over an open flame) and has no moving parts. infinite shelf life

  3. How long would you have to run the PowerPot to produce 8500 mAh of electrical energy (that’s what the Brunton unit does)?
    According to my data, a very very long time.
    Just like when people show me their solar panels the size of an iPhone and plan to recharge their laptop with it… somehow I don’t think it’s going to work….

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