The Medis Fuel Cell chargers have been mentioned on TreeHugger a few times, last getting reviewed nearly a year ago. They're an option for instance power for charging gadgets in off-grid and emergency situations. And now, they're headed for store shelves, putting fuel cell chargers in front of consumers in a far more obvious way. The fuel cells offer instant power similar to batteries, but can be hooked up to gadgets that don't charge with a couple AAs. So they're an option for charging cell phones or other handhelds when you're off grid and can't wait for a solar cell to soak up sunlight (the power pack comes with standard USB, Mini USB, Micro USB, Palm Treo, and Nokia tips). But they're still disposable power sources, which is unfortunate (especially considering it comes with all those plastic tips, most of which won't be used in the first place, let alone after the fuel cell is used up). Medis states:
Medis is committed to the environment and green technology. The Direct Liquid Fuel Cell technology is green. Our Medis Power Pack does not contain or use environmentally damaging materials or chemicals:
* No Mercury, lead, chromium, cadmium or other dangerous heavy metals
* No ozone depleting solvents are used in its production
* No PVC used in our packaging - only recyclable PET
* No harmful emissions come from the operating Power Pack
* RoHS compliant
Our product is recyclable and we have authorized recycling facilities ready to receive depleted Power Packs.
Whether or not the power packs actually end up getting recycled is another issue - users have to mail them in for recycling, and the company has to actually hand them over to recyclers who will properly process them.
Fuel cells haven't quite made it into our consumer mindset, but they're getting there. And seeing these power packs on store shelves rather than just online will alert more people to the growing technology. And now they'll be available at Fry's Electronics stores.
(It's always disconcerted me that an electronics store would put Fry's in its name. But that's neither here nor there.)