Many of us have plug-in external batteries of one sort to recharge our smart phones when we're away from power outlets. Or we have gigantic aftermarket batteries
that make our phones so fat they barely fit in our pockets. So there is this company, Lilliputian Power Systems, that is just starting to market a tiny, butane-powered fuel cell they call the Nectar
that plugs into your cell phone (or whatever) through a USB port and supposedly charges it for up to two weeks. That's a lot better than an add-on battery. It looks expensive, although the power "pods" aren't too pricey at $19.99 for two
. But wait a minute: Why aren't fuel cells, not internal combustion engines, the "range extenders" in plug-in hybrid cars? A decade back, fuel cells were going to revolutionize our power delivery and consumption systems. A cell phone charger is cute, but is that really all we can get fuel cells to do?