At a time when the electricity crisis is affecting users’ wallets, all sorts of alternative solutions making it possible to provide a certain degree of autonomy or occasional help are welcome. And along those lines comes this development from Japanese start-up Scitem: a portable backup power generation system that works with replaceable hydrogen cartridges.

Shaped like a briefcase, this product is not enough to replace the solid fuel-powered generators that we are all familiar with, nor the batteries that charge energy to power the house in the event of a power outage. This device is mainly intended for small devices.

hydrogen plus oxygen

It is a briefcase-shaped device that bases its operation on the use of hydrogen cartridges. In the form of gas cartridges, the hydrogen “reacts with oxygen in the air to produce electricity via an internal hydrogen fuel cell”.

In this way, electricity can be produced, albeit on a small scale. This means it can be used to charge small devices, such as phones, tablets, laptops…via a plug or USB cable. It cannot be used to power large appliances or as a source of electricity for the home.

The advantage of this system is that it does not lose capacity over time, as is the case with batteries. The cartridges do not discharge electricity, making them resistant to degradation.

At the moment, Scitem has developed a prototype with a power of 30 watts, which can be used to power laptops. In addition, the company affirms that it will market versions with variable electric powers according to the orders.

Price and availability

Scitem will launch this charging system in the spring for around 500,000 yen, which works out to around 3,900 euros to change once it goes into mass production.

Through | asian nikki