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Upp, the hydrogen fuel cell battery booster hits the UK

Luke Johnson


Upp Charger

Forget hydrogen powered cars; you can now can charge your gadgets using the emissions-free energy source.

Looking to combat power-hungry smartphones and tablets while looking out for the planet, Intelligent Energy has launched Upp, the first portable battery booster to utilise power from hydrogen fuel cells.

Upp represents the start of the next generation of energy devices, a signal to the portable electronics market that consumers are ready to adopt transformative technologies,” Dr Henri Winand, Intelligent Energy CEO said in unveiling the device.

He added: “Consumers want energy independence as the demand and reliance on portable devices accelerates.”

Although a sure fire sign of things to come – we can’t keep burning fossil fuels forever you know – Upp proves that the cost of saving the planet is one which isn’t too kind on your wallet.

Hitting the UK through Apple Stores and the company’s own website, the Upp starter pack – which pairs the fuel cell charger with a single hydrogen cartridge – will set wannabe owners back the princely sum of £149.

What’s more, given that you can’t simply plug your hydrogen cartridge into the wall to recharge, replacement energy packs are needed.

As well as unwanted legwork and hassle – you have to go to specialist exchange locations – refilling your cartridges will cost you £5.95 a pop. Additional hydrogen cartridges will set you back £49.95 each.

So, what are the benefits? Well, aside from being greener than traditional battery boosters? Upp stores a lot of charge. Each hydrogen cartridge should be able to keep your smartphone going for a full week.

Upp can be used to charge all USB powered devices, including wearables and digital cameras.

Read More: Britain to have 15 hydrogen fuel stations by 2015


November 19, 2014, 11:34 am

>> Consumers want energy independence

How is this energy independence?

Also a normal battery the same size as this device would most likely keep my phone going for a month, let alone a week.

So far this seems more like a device been green for green sake. And then most likely not been that green either.

Trevor Totten

November 19, 2014, 1:37 pm

I bet the amount of fossil fuel used to drive to an exchange location to get a cartridge refilled is more than that used to charge your phone a few times a week. I'm all for innovation, but frankly, this a rather nonsense idea.


November 19, 2014, 2:52 pm

According to Wikipedia "Currently, the majority of hydrogen (∼95%) is produced from fossil fuels...." Not so green at all then.

Andy Race

November 19, 2014, 2:55 pm

+1 Absolutely correct


November 19, 2014, 4:08 pm

i've not read that article, but could this not be a by-product of traditional fossil fuel use?


November 19, 2014, 4:10 pm

Gotta start somewhere.
Whilst I do agree that this in and of itself is possibly not that great as far as being 'green' and efficient, it will serve as a means of getting people to think outside of the box, and consider alternative sources of charging electronics.
Also, being that it is the first to market, it's not the be-all and end-all. That is not it's aim.

Kulti Vator

November 20, 2014, 10:06 am

I believe the comment about fossil fuels relates to the energy needed to extract hydrogen in a form we can readily use.

This is because hydrogen doesn't exist by itself in any easy to use form on the surface of the earth, so most has to be extracted from other substances, such as water (e.g. breaking the oxygen / hydrogen bonds) - which requires significant quantities of energy using current methods.

Kulti Vator

November 20, 2014, 10:10 am

A lot of R&D is going into producing hydrogen fuel more efficiently and cheaply. Early adopters are used to paying over the odds, which in turn creates a market, fuels competition and drives down costs for the masses over time as technology improves.

With hydrogen power - this can't happen soon enough.


November 20, 2014, 8:05 pm

Only to the extent that water is burnt hydrogen,
and that for each tonne of diesel or jet fuel burnt,
quite apart from the CO2 released a further tonne of water is emitted.

Then you have the problem that the hydrogen-oxygen bond is pretty strong/takes a lot of energy to break, and unless you are using a fully renewable source, you will be relying upon a fossil fuel to produce the hydrogen.
Everything I have read suggests the 'hydrogen economy' is a sham, supported mainly by existing users of fossil fuels.


November 20, 2014, 8:07 pm

I agree, but the first-to-market guys have probably convinced their financial backers that within an (unfeasibly short) timescale the high street print cartridge refillers will also offer this as a service.

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