Fuel cell prototypes are so thick on the ground these days and real products so lacking that we barely pay any attention to each new claim to be the best this, that or the other.

However, we're happy to buck the trend and bring news of a tiny hydrogen cell that looks very promising indeed.

Reaction chamber

Illinois University's micro fuel cell is a square that measures just 3mm on each side and has a depth of 1mm. It creates hydrogen from an internal reaction between water and a metal hydride.

One if its big draws is the fact that it needs no power-hungry pump to move the water from the storage chamber to the gas-production area.

Go anywhere

Because of its small size, this happens through surface tension alone, which also means it can operate in any position without the worry of keeping it upright.

Although the new cell can produce just 1mA at present, its ability to deliver both high power density and high energy means research is likely to continue apace.