All photos: PowerTrekk
Add a tiny hydrogen fuel cell and a tablespoon of water to the PowerTrekk and it will charge your smart phone, digital camera, GPS, and/or virtually any other gizmo that takes juice via a USB cable. Unlike solar chargers, the lightweight (240 grams or 8.5 oz) PowerTrekk is not reliant on hours spent lazing about in the sun, it's ready to go as soon as you turn it on. The only by-product said to be emitted is water vapour. The actual PowerPukk fuel cell is itself said to be considered safe enough to be allowed onboard as part of your aircraft cabin baggage. PowerTrekk is targeted at three applications. 1. outdoor enthusiasts and 2. business people in remote locations away from powerpoint recharge facilities. And 3. emergency situations when normal electrical power is shut down.
The rated output of the PowerTrekk is 5V, 1000 mA. Power can also be stored in the onboard 1600 mAh lithium ion battery if not used immediately. You can read all the technical ins and out of the technology on the parent company's website, Swedish firm MyFuelCell.
The PowerTrekk is due for release this year, with its official launch only last month SNEWS reports that the PowerTrekk is expected to retail in Europe for about € 148, with the little replaceable PowerPukks being about € 0.80.
Although there is a fair chunk of useful information on company's website, we didn't spy any layperson speak of how much oomph the individual fuel cells generate, although the specs do, at one point, infer 4 watt hours of energy. The competition solar chargers often cite numbers of photos that can be taken, or minutes of phone calls, per charge. However PowerTrekk do observe that, "The fuel cell charger is electronic waste and will be part of an industry program for recycling. The fuel pack is part of an industry program for reusing its materials and is made of coated can materials which prevent corrosion and leakage of chemicals."
So, although PowerTrekk's power output might be near to instant, at least with solar chargers there appear to be far less issues with consumable bits and pieces. (Though I did need to have the battery replaced on my Solio after five years of solid use.)