First commercially available fuel cell charger appears online

Our buddies over at Engadget are reporting on the availability of a portable fuel cell designed to recharge your gadgets. The Medis 24-7 Power Pack was first announced back in 2005, but it has taken them some time to get the technology to a stage where it is reliable enough to sell commercially.

The 24-7 power pack contains a fuel cell using “a direct liquid borohydride technology”. I have no idea what that means, but it delivers enough power to keep your iPod playing for up to three and a half days, and that is really all I need to know.

The 24-7 Power Pack is currently available online for $39.95 which includes the Power Pack itself, a variety of charger cords and a user manual. The Power Pack is not rechargeable (or reusable), so once it is empty, you’ll need to spend $22.95 for the replacement pack. The Power Pack is scheduled to appear in Best Buy stores soon.

The manufacturer does not mention whether the fuel cell is approved for taking on a commercial flight, and knowing the TSA, I’m not sure they know either.
I asked Medis about taking their Power Pack on a commerical flight, and they got back to me right away letting me know that it is fully approved by the DOT, each package even contains the DOT permit number and is clearly marked “approved for carriage in aircraft”

I have to say I’m quite happy to see this technology finally appear in a commercial product, companies have been showing off their fuel cell products for years, but until now, none of them were actually made available for us mere consumers. I’m sure that the price will scare some people away, but being able to carry a 6.5 ounce backup power pack with the capacity to keep my iPod playing for 3 days is worth $23 to me. As the technology matures, I’m convinced that prices will drop.