6 Comments

Summary:

Portable fuel cells capture the imagination of just about all laptop warriors with their promise of unending off-grid power on the go. But they remain just a dream. As part of the new eco-focus at CES, Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, headquartered in Singapore, is showing off […]

Portable fuel cells capture the imagination of just about all laptop warriors with their promise of unending off-grid power on the go. But they remain just a dream. As part of the new eco-focus at CES, Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, headquartered in Singapore, is showing off two concept designs of portable fuel cells, one for higher power applications like laptop computers and a smaller version for gaming devices, cell phones, and PDAs.

Produced and marketed in conjunction with Millenium Fuel Cell, the penny stock that bills itself as the “hydrogen battery company,” the larger version of the HydroPak will launch in the second half of 2008 with a planned production run of several thousand units. The main unit will retail for $400 with reloadable cartridges hitting the streets at $20. The cartridges provide 14 hours of power, making for a pretty tough value proposition when a similar amount of grid electricity would go for a few cents.

There is no current plan to commercialize the smaller version of the HydroPak for cell phones and other mobile devices. Instead, it is being shown at CES, “to gauge interest for a less expensive, smaller power source.” You might call it the vaporware of the future, given the history of fuel cells, but it’s certainly possible that fuel cells will turn a corner in the next couple of years. After all, Horizon did win the “Most Promising Technology” award at the Cleantech Forum XV in Beijing.

The Horizon/Millenium partnership will be competing with a slate of other companies making portable, mobile, or consumer fuel cells, including Atlas Ventures-funded Lilliputian, VantagePoint Venture Partners-backed Angstrom Power, Jadoo Power, Samsung, Motorola, MTI Micro, and Manhattan Scientifics. It should be noted, however, that the field remains wide-open.

Best known for its H-Racer toycar, which numerous awards, Horizon was founded in 2003 by businessman, George Gu, who had previously led Eastman Chemical’s mainland China venture.

But the company’s technological brain is its CTO, Dr. Arthur Koschany, who has been working in-and-around fuel cells for twenty years. In 2001, Time named a fuel-cell powered bicycle designed by Koschany an “Invention of the Year.”

Still, it’s hard to tell if Horizon possesses the kind of game-changing technology that it seems fuel cells need to really break into mainstream usage. Their technology pitch seems heavy on “we can do these things” without much emphasis on how their fuel cell technology will overcome the oft-noted difficulties in the space.

The company has received venture funding from Shanghai’s bScope Venture Partners, and feature bScope’s founder, Sebastian Piech, on their board. Horizon’s most recent financial activity was swapping $5 million in equity with Millenium, which got them 12% of the American company.

  1. [...] Portable fuel cells capture the imagination of just about all laptop warriors with their promise of unending off-grid power on the go. But they remain just a dream. As part of the new eco-focus at CES, Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, … Read More [...]

    Share
  2. Green energy is definitely the best solution in most cases. Technology like solar energy, wind power, fuel cells, zaps electric vehicles, EV hybrids, etc have come so far recently. Green energy even costs way less than oil and gas in many cases.

    Share
  3. [...] for consumer devices that can essentially run on water, and other non-toxic chemicals. Both were big topics this year at the Consumer Electronics Trade Show, but getting fuel cells to market will still need a lot of [...]

    Share
  4. Yes it is dream but not for long. Sefca has patented technology that will be the future for renewable energy sources.

    Share
  5. i think that its going to come out sooner than we think we need new forms of power now

    Share
  6. So, why not also build a refill station right into the fuel-cell. So that when the device is connected to external power the fuel cell can charge. Kinda like a lithium battery does.

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post