Apple is actively considering using fuel cell technology to power portable devices which could last for 'weeks' from a single charge.
A pair of patents uncovered by AppleInsider, the company asserts that hydrogen-powered fuel cells would see smaller and lighter MacBooks with unheard of battery life.
The patents, Fuel Cell Systems to Power Portable Computing Device and Fuel Cell System Coupled to a Portable Computing Device, were filed in October 2010.
Significantly reduces size weight and cost
Apple's filing says: "This fuel cell system includes a fuel cell stack which converts fuel into electrical power. It also includes a controller which controls operation of the fuel cell system."
"This eliminates the need for a bulky and heavy battery within the fuel cell system, which can significantly reduce the size, weight and cost of the fuel cell system."
The company adds: "Hydrogen fuel cells have a number of advantages. Such fuel cells and associated fuels can potentially achieve high volumetric and gravimetric energy densities, which can potentially enable continued operation of portable electronic devices for days or even weeks without refueling.
"However, it is extremely challenging to design hydrogen fuel cell systems which are sufficiently portable and cost-effective to be used with portable electronic devices."
Apple's filing also points out the public's desire for tech companies to explore renewable energy sources and end reliance on fossil fuels.
"As a consequence of increased consumer awareness, electronics manufacturers have become very interested in renewable energy sources for their products, and they have been exploring a number of promising renewable energy sources such as hydrogen fuel which is used in hydrogen fuel cells," said the papers.