Power up!

Brunton Reactor hydrogen powered phone charger

November sees the launch of an innovative portable charger from Brunton

Many of us rely on some sort of gadget while out and about. Whether it’s a smart phone, handheld GPS system, or even a tablet device, they all need recharging at some stage. Depending on the length of your trip away from civilisation, you could find yourself out of battery, and stuck.

Brunton, who have been making outdoor devices for over 100 years, have developed the futuristic Hydrogen Reactor, for walkers with multiple gadgets who might be away from a power source for more than a day or two.

It sounds and looks pretty space age, but actually works by combining the simplest of elements – oxygen and hydrogen – and harnessing that for power. Similar technology has already been seen in the motor industry but Brunton’s insight came in identifying the practical use for a miniaturised version.

The palm-size device itself costs about £135, and consists of two hydrogen-filled cylindrical cores, and the converter. When you need to charge something, you push the core into the converter until it locks, and then attach your device via the supplied USB cable. Now comes the science bit. The hydrogen in the cylinder reacts with the ambient air, and converts into energy, which charges your camera/phone/GPS/tablet and water vapour which is expelled through the side vents. Simple! The two core cylinders have enough juice to recharge up to 12 iPhones.

You haven’t even heard the best part. Once your hydrogen cells are spent, you just take the empty in to your local retailer – a bit like returning an Irn Bru bottle (the glass ones) – and you get a full one back for just £4. Your shopkeeper then refills the cell using a special hydrolyser that extracts hydrogen from ordinary tap water (the H in H2O), making the whole process environmentally friendly as well as exceptional value.

The device is so new that retailers are thin on the ground just now – three in Scotland are given below, and hopefully more will follow. There may also still be some educating to be done among airport staff – the device is unusual looking, and could be mistaken for something sinister if noticed in your hand luggage. The benefits of this powerful but low-impact device can’t be ignored, so if your kit needs regular recharging while you’re away, it’s worth a look.


Fuel cells explained (wikipedia)

Scottish stockists:

CairnGorm Mountain Shop, Aviemore

The Arran Outdoor Shop, Arran

Braemar Mountain Sports

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