Technologies

Widex Energy Cell™ - The World’s Smallest Fuel Cell for Consumer & Medical Electronics


Abstract/Technology Overview

Widex Energy Cell brings fuel cell technology into a tiny format that fits discretely into consumer and medical electronics. It can recharge in seconds and run off-the-grid for years, as it does not require a power outlet.

The Widex Energy Cell-powered hearing aid is the first-ever medical device to use fuel cell technology. It also houses the smallest fuel cell in the world.

Widex Energy Cell opens up to a world of new applications for companies that want to exploit the benefits of fuel cells to provide new customer benefits.


Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

Widex Energy Cell is based on a min­iaturized fuel cell that produces electricity to power microelectronics through an electrochemical reaction using oxygen and methanol. It has been developed in collaboration with the Danish Technological Institute.

The Widex Energy Cell technology comprises a refill unit and a miniaturized fuel cell that can be incorporated in a wide range of applications, typically requiring 1 to 300 mW of continuous power. The Widex Energy Cell can power electronics, where one of the following benefits is important:  

  1. A fuel cell can be recharged in seconds, enabling true 24/7 operation. There is no need to wait hours for charging a battery.
  2. The high energy density of methanol means that electronics can run off-the-grid cheaply and safely for years. There is no need for a heavy and costly battery.
  3. Freedom in Product Design: Fuel cell runs on methanol and therefore provide an added design possibilities for creating wearables and smaller electronics.
  4. Green Tech: A fuel cell runs on methanol that can be produced from biomass and biowaste.


Potential Applications

Micro fuel cells provide unique benefits and differentiation possibilities in hearables, headsets, wearables, IoT, and surveillance and infrastructure products. Examples of applications: 

  1. Headsets, Hearables and IoT products can be recharged in seconds when based on fuel cells. Never miss a conversation again.
  2. IoT sensors and cameras monitoring people and things can function off-the-grid for years on a single fuel cell cartridge dimensioned for the specific use.
  3. Wearables can be designed with a new degree of freedom in shape and size as the power source is in liquid form. 

The fuel cell technology will need to be tailored to the needs of the specific application.


Customer Benefit

Fuel Cells provide the ultimate comfort: If a user forgets to charge their device, or simply run out of power during the day, the fuel cell can be recharged in seconds

Fuel Cells provide true off-the-grid performance: Outdoor products no longer die in the middle of the adventure. The high energy density of methanol enables small electronics to be powered for months.

On an environmental level, fuel cells run on methanol, which can be developed in green ways based on biowaste and biomass.

OVERVIEW
Technology Owner

Jesper Kimer

Company

Widex A/S

Technology Category
  • Battery & SuperCapacitor
  • Biofuels & Biomass
  • Fuel Cells
Technology Status
  • Available for Licensing
Technology Readiness Level
  • TRL 6