Many of us have heard of hydrogen fuel cells for use in cars, but French boffins have come up with an entirely new use for this technology: a backup power source for your mobile phone.Boffins at the Atomic Energy Commission have created a mini hydrogen fuel cell, measuring about the size of your cigarette lighter, and capable of powering your phone when your battery runs out.

It’s small enough to be carried in a belt pouch, so it’ll be on hand in case of emergencies, and Bic (the company famous for their pens, lighters and razors) is developing the outer cartridge for the cell.The intention is to incorporate these fuel cells to create ‘hybrid’ cell phones, which use their traditional batteries until they run out, and then switch to the hydrogen fuel cell. The cartridge can hold enough power for three to five recharges for a traditional battery. This unique idea should be seen in shops by 2010, so keep an eye out.