Energy Holdings announced today that they have launched the Upp in UK Apple stores. Upp is a portable charging device that is fueled by hydrogen, and can be used to charge any USB compatible device.
Upp uses a small hydrogen fuel cell which provides an energy boost to your smartphone, smartwatch, tablet or portable gaming systems. Outside of using hydrogen to provide the power, the Upp device is equivalent to plugging your device into the wall; equating to a faster charge.
As previously mentioned this product is only available in the UK, and will cost around €149, which is around $230 US dollars for the starter pack. As you use the Upp, you will need to replace the cell cartridge. The company said that one cell cartridge will last about a week, and you can replace the cartridge for about €5.95, or around $9.
The device is said to be “large and weighty”, according to Pocket-lint, and sends out a “hissing sound and faint odor” when charging a device. Sounds extremely…safe.
This seems like a good idea on the surface but as I read reviews on the product, I’ve sensed that it is not worth the cost; not yet anyways. Currently, you can get EasyAcc® 10000mAh Brilliant Ultra Slim Dual USB (2.1A / 1.5A Output) Portable Power Bank External Battery Charger for iPhone iPad Samsung Galaxy HTC ONE Smartphone Tablets Pc Bluetooth Speakers – Black and Orangeportable USB chargers for as low as Anker®%202nd Gen Astro Mini 3200mAh Lipstick-Sized Portable External Battery Charger with PowerIQ™ Technology for iPhone, Samsung, HTC and More (Black)$17, but it will not provide the same amount of charging speed that Upp claims to provide. One of the largest concerns about this product is safety. When the device sends out a “hissing sound and faint odor”, I get a bit concerned; especially when we’re dealing with hydrogen. According to HowStuffWorks:
Are there dangers associated with pure hydrogen? To put it simply, yes. When liquid hydrogen is stored in tanks, it’s relatively safe, but if it escapes there are associated hazards.
Topping the list of concerns is hydrogen burns. In the presence of an oxidizer — oxygen is a good one — hydrogen can catch fire, sometimes explosively, and it burns more easily than gasoline does.
Nothing like charging your phone and bursting into flames while playing a violin duet for your grandmother. That would be my first concern, especially if there is hissing sound and odor, that indicates hydrogen escaping to me. However, there is no doubt potential for the device as it advances over the years. Give me a hydrogen cell that provides unlimited charges over the course of the month and you can sign me up!
How do you think this product will do? Is the fast charge worth the price? For you scientists out there, what safety concerns should we have? Let us know in the comment section below.