Solid-oxide fuel cells can generate electricity using a range of readily available fuels. But because they run very hot–often above 1,000 ºC–they typically require insulation that makes them bulky. A new version employs an insulation technique that keeps the finished device as small as a pack of playing cards. The gadget, which could help keep electronic devices humming on long flights or hikes, runs on cheap butane cartridges; one cartridge packs enough power to recharge a smart phone 20 times. Swap out the cartridge, and it’s ready for 20 more charges. The device is scheduled to go on sale next year.
Product: Fuel-cell recharger
Cost: Initially between $100 and $200; cartridges will cost between $1 and $3.
Companies: Lilliputian Systems