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Fuel cells for device charging

Keeping your GPS device and smartphone powered up

If you are out on a day walk using a mapping app on your smartphone for navigation chances are your battery will be flat before the day is out. If you are backpacking in a remote area and will not have access to power points for several days even a dedicated GPS device such as a Garmin will run out of juice. Of course, you could carry spare batteries, but there is a better solution. Carry a portable charger or fuel cell. These are available in a range of power capabilities depending upon how long you need to keep devices powered up and they re-charge by USB connection.

Hydrogen Reactor Fuel Cell

A ground-breaking fuel cell capable of recharging electronic outdoor devices using hydrogen extracted from nothing more than water has won the prestigious OWPG Derryck Draper Award for Innovation.

At the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild’s annual dinner on October 12, the Brunton Hydrogen Reactor was named as the 2013 winner of the award that recognises innovation in outdoor products. The OWPG Derryck Draper Award is judged by a panel consisting of some of the UK’s foremost experts on outdoor equipment, drawn from within the OWPG’s membership.

Bruton hydrogen reactor fuel cellThe Hydrogen Reactor, created by Brunton and distributed in the UK by Rosker Ltd, is a portable hydrogen fuel cell for use in the outdoors. It weighs only 216g, including a rechargeable Hydrogen core, and measures only 11.4cm x 7.1cm x 3.2cm. It can charge a variety of electronic devices including cameras, smartphones and tablet computers via USB. The Reactor is fuelled by the screw-in core – a little larger than an AA battery – which contains the equivalent 10 litres of solid-state hydrogen gas. That itself is recharged in a Hydroliser, which extracts the hydrogen from a small tank of H2O, emitting only water vapour and a fizz.

The device will initially be very expensive and will only make economic sense for backpackers or expeditions where access to electric sockets is going to unavailable for long periods, perhaps weeks, and solar power is likely to be unreliable due to the weather. Current battery cell products will remain the choice for weekend backpacking.

The award, which took the form of a painting of Blencathra, by OWPG member and landscape artist David Bellamy, was accepted by Ross Bainbridge, on behalf of Rosker. The award ceremony formed part of the OWPG’s annual meeting weekend. This year the gathering was held between October 11 and 13 in the Shropshire Hills AONB centred on Church Stretton, the Midland’s first Walkers Are Welcome town.

The Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild was founded in 1980. Its 165 members are all actively and professionally involved in a broad spectrum of outdoor media and include journalists, authors, filmmakers, photographers, publishers, editors and more. The guild promotes excellence within its fields of speciality by presenting annual awards, organising professional development workshops and offering social and professional networking opportunities and forums. Many of the walking guide books available from our bookshop are written by members of the Guild.


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