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Simple Chemical Trick To Boost Battery Efficiency

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the power-up dept.

Power 149

space_mongoose writes "Hitachi thinks that a simple chemical additive could significantly improve battery life. Alkaline batteries have a positive electrode of manganese oxide and a negative electrode of finely powdered zinc, but zinc oxide forms around these grains of zinc. Hitachi's solution is to replace the zinc with a fine powder of zinc-aluminum alloy, displacing the zinc within the zinc oxide layer making it a much better conductor."

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149 comments

At least this is not (4, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156803)

another battery from Sony

One small step for Hitachi another big marketing (1)

philpalm (952191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156855)

plan. Imagine the new labels New and Improved! However the leap in added power will still be less than Lithium batteries.

Re:One small step for Hitachi another big marketin (2, Insightful)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159149)

However the leap in added power will still be less than Lithium batteries

I agree, but the New and Improved batteries might still be much cheaper and less hazardous [wikipedia.org] .

Re:At least this is not (2, Funny)

evwah (954864) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156955)

as a sony employee, I think someone should mod you -1 humornotappreciated

jk:P

Re:At least this is not (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157201)

As a typical member of /. I think someone should mod you -1 employernotappreciated

Re:At least this is not (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157173)

I mod this: -1, humornotappreciated

Re:At least this is not (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157447)

Least their batteries can keep you warm on a cold winters night

Re:At least this is not (1)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159251)

another battery from Sony

I am almost positive about what u said...

--

Battery (1)

Linagee (16463) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159815)

I for one welcome our new battery efficient overlords.

Incremental Changes (4, Insightful)

anonymous_but_brave (1075911) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156827)

These changes to batteries are really just tweaks. Batteries are still very expensive, and thermodynamically inefficient. Also, they aren't even talking about lithium batteries, which would not benefit from this tweak. I'm still waiting for that breakthrough which will allow me to run my laptop for days (instead of hours) on a battery.

Re:Incremental Changes (2, Interesting)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157045)

I've given up on waiting. I'm thinking of building either a big NiMH pack out of D cells (10Ah at least), or just get a big sealed lead-acid. The former is light but expensive, the latter is heavy but dirt cheap. Run times close to a day!

Re:Incremental Changes (-1, Flamebait)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158295)

NiMH light and expensive? Muahaha... Say hello to 90's from me.
Lipo for teh win!

(I actually tagged the article lipoftw)

Oh wait. I think you were trying to be funny. Please add some smilies for us humour impaired :/
Here's some free samples: :) ;D :D :D|- o_O ^_^ :F/-\

Re:Incremental Changes - OR... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157145)

I'm still waiting for that breakthrough which will allow me to run my laptop for days (instead of hours) on a battery.

I'd settle for that carbon nano-tube batt-capacitor that would recharge a virtually infinite number of times in seconds, instead of hours.

Re:Incremental Changes - OR... (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158149)

Eh, if you think some batteries are dangerous just wait till you hit a capacitor that big the wrong way :D

Re:Incremental Changes - OR... (1)

frogstar_robot (926792) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159759)

Seal it up and slap in a diode and fuse. That takes care of accidental touching and hooking it up the wrong way.

Re:Incremental Changes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157513)

Easy one: use a lead-acid battery. It has been done before: http://www.fixup.net/tips/battery/battery.htm [fixup.net]
If you use a car or truck one you could get days of power at the expense of portability ;-)

Re:Incremental Changes (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157751)

I'm still waiting for that breakthrough which will allow me to run my laptop for days (instead of hours) on a battery.

The most likely breakthrough is likely to come from the hardware and software of your laptop rather than the battery. With e-paper type display fast enough for interactive use, 386-level CPU/RAM, flash storage and carefully optimized software stack, an existing battery can last anywhere from a week if you are compiling code to many months if you are just reading an e-book. To achieve comparable lifetime with the current Core 2 Duo you would likely need cold fusion as no chemical energy can be dense enough to even power a backlighted screen for so long.

Re:Incremental Changes (1)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158489)

The breakthrough will not come from batteries but most probably from improved processors, memory-based storage and better display efficiencies.

If you don't need Windows games, you could go with an open-source OS, which means anything ARM or MIPS-based could be fair game. I can easily imagine a asynchronous multi-core ARM processor that runs Linux fast enough for me as long as it has enough memory to keep Firefox happy. Just doing away with PC compatibility would increase efficiencies (imagine not having a vestigial IBM 5150 inside your chipset).

Memory-based storage devices also are much more power-efficient than their spinning disk counterparts and, if their latency and bandwidth are good enough, unused main memory could even be powered down. Right now, my computer reports about 50% of memory used for caches, so, about half of my DIMMs would not need power.

If non-volatile memory becomes fast and durable enough to be used as main memory, then we could simplify the design even further. Less stuff means less power.

Sony is already selling LED-backlit LCD laptops. LEDs require a lot less power than fluorescent backlights, so, again, there is room for improvement. Another major improvement could come from the OLPC project - their LCD requires even less power than a traditional one because they eliminate filters (which throw away 66% of the backlight) and split light in RGB components instead. The OLPC hardware also can take over many functions traditionally CPU-bound, saving power and pointing the way for future power-efficient laptops - I suspect the OLPC could already run for days on my current batteries.

The OLPC folks are also responsible for a lot of power-saving enhancements inside the Linux kernel itself and those could improve battery life of my _current_ computer without any extra hardware.

So, if done this way, most probably a laptop with the same form factor as mine could run for 3 to 10 times longer on the same batteries.

Two Words (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158927)

"Fuel Cell".

They still have a way to go in a number of respects, but it looks like when they do start to be deployed, they will have energy densities that are substantially higher than chemical batteries.

Cost-efficiency? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19156829)

Quite an obvious solution, I'm sure. And battery companies don't do it because they want your batteries to run out faster, so you'll buy more...

Or maybe it's because this shit makes it more expensive than it would be to just replace the batteries more often?

Re:Cost-efficiency? (1)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156881)

If it's so obvious, why didn't you invent it and bring it to market, already?

Re:Cost-efficiency? (4, Insightful)

evanbd (210358) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156965)

And battery companies don't do it because they want your batteries to run out faster, so you'll buy more...

Do you have *any* evidence for this?

I'd say the opposite is true. Battery companies *do* come out with new, higher performance models, and they provide good data about how well they perform. For example, Energizer has their e2 line of batteries, which have a longer life under some discharge conditions -- and those conditions are thoroughly documented in the data sheet.

See also continued improvements in lithium ion rechargeable technology -- in the past few years both power and energy densities have improved dramatically.

I suggest you do some research into the current state of the art before claiming the battery companies just sit on technology so you'll buy more batteries.

Re:Cost-efficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157105)

The reading comprehension levels you demonstrate are astounding. Do we need the lame [THIS IS SARCASM!] and [/SARCASM OFF] tags before we can understand that the GP is saying: "Sure, there are ways to make batteries work longer/better, but they are more expensive than the current ones in terms of total cost/performance"?

Re:Cost-efficiency? (1)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157161)

Did you happen to see that article a while back, that stated that close to 50% of the time, people could not pick up on the tone of emails? Something about nonverbal cues not being present. Now, do you happen to realize where you are? This is Slashdot, where there is a greater than average subset of wackos and nutjobs, especially on the Anonymous Coward front.

Maybe you picked up on tone that the GP missed. At 50-50 odds, that's not absurd enough for you to start flinging insults at his reading comprehension. Maybe, you missed the tone. You think that the GGP is being sarcastic, and the GP correctly picked him out as a moron/troll. Who knows? One thing's for certain, we didn't need the vitriol displayed in that post.

Now go log in before you reply.

Re:Cost-efficiency? (1)

anubi (640541) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157381)

Yes, I *love* those e2 batteries (AA and AAA Lithium) from Energizer.

Everything I have now has either those or NiMH in them.

The Lithiums are great for clocks, remotes, electronic test equipment, and emergency gear. They claim to hold their charge for over ten years - and I have yet to see one leak.

Those are great for those things that sit around forever, but work when you need it.

As for those "chew up the battery" applications, such as toys, everyday flashlight, power tools, etc, I keep with the NiMH. I am opening those things up so many times that I usually catch a failing cell before it causes much damage. And besides, recharging them is much cheaper, as I am going to go through them much faster than their self-discharge rate.

I no longer have an alkaline in the house. I have long since had my fill of opening a battery compartment, only to find it filled with green corroded junk.

Re:Cost-efficiency? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157473)

what really really pisses me off is people on slashdot saying "do you have *ANY* evidence for this".. what is this? Amateur geek lawyer club?

Re:Cost-efficiency? (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157993)

Yes, that's exactly what Slashdot is. Go back to 4chan if you don't like it.

Re:Cost-efficiency? (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159111)

Or maybe they want to keep improving the cash cow _because_ it will slow the move to rechargables?

Until department store and grocery store check outs display rechargables, it is a little difficult to accept that the biz has the best interests of the consumer and environment in mind. Selling rechargables is one thing I will credit our local SuperAmerica with precisely because that is the exception.

Re:Cost-efficiency? (1)

GiMP (10923) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159299)

Until department store and grocery store check outs display rechargables, it is a little difficult to accept that the biz has the best interests of the consumer and environment in mind. Selling rechargables is one thing I will credit our local SuperAmerica with precisely because that is the exception.


They *do* display rechargables, at least in my experience. Especially the gadget stores, hardware stores, and pharmacy/convenience stores such as CVS and RiteAid. (the latter being popular places to have photo prints done back in the days of analog -- now, they're doing what they can to stay *current* with digital)

With all of the consumer battery powered electronics that are popping up, such as digital cameras, rechargable batteries are becoming much more mainstream.

Re:You lose (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159723)

I suggest you do a little more research about good business models, and how the economics of breaking down parts, causes you to replace them, and that what he says is true, why would they want to replace the batteries that cost .35 cents to make that lasts 2 hours, with one that costs .45 cents to make but lasts 4 hours..... they lose money!

Like Bush SAYING he really wants to stop the oil dependency, and pushing to have supposed advancements, yet keeping that mysterious, never to be seen water engine that the governement
seased years back, back in the darkest corners of Area 51.

We will never see that engine, and we will always hear about those IMPROVEMENTS, yet
they will never really come out with the stuff that will kick all batteries a**es as that would be porr business sense.

Re:Cost-efficiency? (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157775)

I don't know who modded you troll, but I think you are right:
  introducing this new technique is costly not only in increased component price, but in retooling too. There might be long-term contracts with suppliers of zinc, and changing them will take some time.
      In the end, better batteries are always good, but the change might take some time

Costs? (4, Informative)

bigberk (547360) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156835)

I didn't see any mention of cost in the article. For instance looking at market aluminum prices, I am astounded to see that the price of the raw metal is increasing something like +23% per year. I don't know if relatively speaking the aluminum/zinc oxide is more costly than just zinc, but I think a greater point is... if the raw material costs are increasing at such a rapid pace (over 20% per year!) then just how "cost effective" will these batteries be in the long term?

P.S. the skyrocketing metal costs, including important ones like copper and silver, are part of an ongoing commodity boom and response to out of control inflation in the USA and depreciating US dollar. The rapidly increasing costs of these metals will be reflected in goods we buy, like batteries.

Re:Costs? (4, Insightful)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156969)

...out of control inflation in the USA...
While I agree with most of what you say, I have no idea what makes you think inflation is out of control right now in the US. The average for the last 8 months is a 2.36% yearly rate. The EU has averaged 0.5% better over the same period. Most analysts seem to think that is pretty reasonable.

Re:Costs? (3, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157521)

Well, thats the official rate, which is only as good as the methodology that is used to measure it, which I think is flawed. They measure a "basket" of goods and services plus take surveys on rent. However, this is only meaningful if how you spend your money is representative of the way they measure inflation. For example, in certain catagories of goods we are seeing either 0 inflation or deflation because of the huge influx of goods from China(on things such as plasma tvs) but meanwhile healthcare, energy, housing, education, and even food prices(which are the basics of life) are spiraling out of control. So unless you buy a lot of luxury goods, your personal rate of inflation is probably markedly higher than the one the Fed considers. And in the EU it's even stranger because they try to harmonize prices from different countries meanwhile the inflation picture can be markedly different, esp. on things that aren't tradable across borders such as housing. In addition you have countries like Germany that raised its sales tax 3% this year, and that pretty much automatically creates inflation....

Just my 2 cents.

Re:Costs? (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157615)

I don't see food prices spiraling out of control. I can still buy a loaf of bread or a double cheeseburger for $1. Milk always bounces around, but hasn't been that high. Potatoes haven't changed much and bananas are still dirt cheap. Housing prices have been falling in many areas around me (I believe all around the country real estate has shifted to a buyers market). I'll give you healthcare and education, those ones have been a bit out of control, and energy has been bad in some places, but overall I would not say things are in that dire of a situation.

Re:Costs? (2)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157865)

housing is out of control here in australia, yet it hasn't been reflected in our offical inflation rates. real world, rent has gone up $200 a week in the space of 2 years in most areas. i don't see many people getting $200 a week more in their pockets. if the US method is anything like ours (which i think it is) the offical inflation rate is nothing better then a guess.

Re:Costs? (1)

battjt (9342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158263)

If you look at the demand for higher education and medical services, the rise in price can be justified through the increased demand and improvement in the delivered product. Comparing todays education and medical services to those from 20 years ago isn't fair.

Joe

Re:Costs? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158747)

I can still buy a loaf of bread ... for $1

Where are you at? In Houston, the bread I get is $1.19, up from $1.09 a year ago, and it used to be $0.99 when I was in college.

Here's a hint for you: if you have to buy a crappier product to maintain the same price (I can get $0.99 bread still, but it's 3/4 a loaf and tastes like chewing on a sponge), it's still inflation.

Re:Costs? (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161011)


Yes, welcome to "CORE CPI", which is a bullshit term which basically means "if we ignore the shit that everyone needs, and that's spiraling out of control, we can give you better news about inflation."

Consumer price index = all the stuff that the parent poster mentions - it's an index of goods from plasma TV's, to the cost of health care, to the cost of rent, to the cost of dinner at the sizzler. It's a somewhat reasonable representation of the "cost of life". Not great, but OK.

Then, someone noticed that petrol prices here are have quadrupled in the past 5 years, and along with them the prices of goods that must be transported regularly, like produce and meat, going up to reflect the increased cost in distribution. So they came up with the CoreCPI, which is the Consumer Price Index, minus food and energy (gas) related costs. So, no accounting for houses heated by oil, no accounting for $3.50/gallon gas, no accounting for food costs doubling.

Well, no shit, sherlock. If you take out the stuff that's inflating, the inflation rate looks pretty solid. Put that stuff back in, and the inflation rate over the last 8 months according to CPI not CCPI is more like 6.5% annually. That doesn't sound bad, but hell, that's a lot. Especially when you factor in things like my government job giving me a 2% COLA every year means I have like 4% less purchasing power than I did the previous year.

~Wx

Re:Costs? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Sniper (113827) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157499)

On behalf of all australians:

Could you please prop up the value of your US dollars - it's rather annoying to get pesos in return for our raw material being exported.

Then again, we like being able to buy your products - oh wait, you don't make anything. Never mind, then.

Re:Costs? (1)

quinspr70c0l (1089355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157685)

Aluminum is pretty cheap. It's the most common metal in earth's crust surpassing even that of iron. I wouldn't see the cost of metal affecting the price but the more complex manufacturing process coupled with inflation.

Re:Costs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158345)

Aluminium is common yes, but expensive to recover from the ore. It has to be made molten and then electrolysed, which takes a LOT of energy. Anyone who can find a better way of doing it would make an insane amount of money.

Re:Costs? (2, Informative)

mpsheppa (1088477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158309)

I'm not too sure on the details of the US economy and inflation in the US might well be related to a depreciating US dollar and a depreciating US dollar would have some effect on metal prices. However these effects are very minor compared to metal price rises which are actually a result of increasing demand, mostly notably from a booming Chinese economy, outstripping supply.

On your question of costs, according to lme.co.uk, Aluminium is currently $2,185 per tonne and Zinc is $3,850 per tonne, so I wouldn't be worried about the raw metal cost since Aluminium is cheaper. Anyway, neither of these costs is likely to be at all significant when making a battery.

In the last 2 years the Zinc price has gone up about 300%. By comparison, Aluminium has only gone up abut 60% in the same time period. The price of Aluminium is probably less affected because its cost comes more from the highly energy-intensive manufacturing process rather than the discovery and mining costs which would more heavily affect Zinc.

Re:Costs? (1)

wfolta (603698) | more than 7 years ago | (#19160029)

A couple of years ago the company I was working for was constructing a building and steel proces skyrocketed in the months it took to complete. I was told that it was China's hot economy and insatiable raw materials appetite. Not saying it is China (alone), but I don't think the US economy is using the raw materials that China's is at this point.

It's being patented (0, Troll)

imaginaryelf (862886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156843)

If you RTFA, you can see that they've filed a US patent on it recently.

Re:It's being patented (1)

JimboFBX (1097277) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157219)

nice to see news on something that deserves patenting

Energizer super ultra-platinum pro? (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156847)

Heh, yet another way to squeeze a little bit more out of alkaline batteries. I hope most research is going into rechargeable battery tech these days, because those are the batteries I really care about. I only use alkalines in remote controls nowadays.

Re:Energizer super ultra-platinum pro? (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156889)

My list of use for alkaline batteries is roughly remotes, my mini maglites (I keep one in the house, one in the car, and one in my messenger bag), my ColdHeat soldering iron, and my digital camera.

Like you, pretty much all the rest of my battery powered stuff is rechargable.

Re:Energizer super ultra-platinum pro? (1)

philpalm (952191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156909)

My brother tries to give zinc carbon batteries in the remotes since they are cheaper to buy and he doesn't have to worry since it is not his remote.

Re:Energizer super ultra-platinum pro? (3, Informative)

huckamania (533052) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157131)

Any fire alarms you have should not be using rechargeables. It will usually say so on any new alarms you buy.

Re:Energizer super ultra-platinum pro? (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157285)

Good point, I had forgotten about fire alarms. I guess for completeness' sake, I should mention that I use a non-rechargeable battery in my watch as well, although it's a lithium and not an alkaline.

post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19156861)

second battery post, i missed the first one

Peak current, yes - Extra life, not so much (3, Interesting)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156865)

TFA is no longer than the summary, but based on the concept it appears that this would improve only the peak current capability but not the total capacity (mAh). In fact, if anything, the addition of aluminum which does not participate in the electrolytic reaction would decrease the capacity. Not sure this is a very useful development.

Re:Peak current, yes - Extra life, not so much-THI (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157175)

this would improve only the peak current capability

This alone might make them suitable in digital cameras, who's current requirements presently don't match up well with inexpensive alkaline cells.

Re:Peak current, yes - Extra life, not so much-THI (3, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157339)

Would that be their current current requirements?

Re:Peak current, yes - Extra life, not so much-THI (4, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158097)

Would that be their current current requirements?

Currently, yes. They're all amped up, you'll be unable to resist them when they come out. Shocking charges, I know, but few have the capacity to induce or impede such a flow of power, watt?

Re:Peak current, yes - Extra life, not so much-THI (1)

Fzz (153115) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159169)

It seems like this avoids the build-up of an insulating layer of zinc oxide. So, what happens when you put a current through something with higher resistance? It gets warm. Presumably then, if you have a relatively high-drain device, you're wasting a fair amount of the chemical energy from the battery in heating up the battery. Avoid this, and the battery should last longer.

Re:Peak current, yes - Extra life, not so much-THI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19159729)

It's "whose," not "who's." Who's is a contraction of "who is."

Re:Peak current, yes - Extra life, not so much (1)

Urusai (865560) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157435)

No, the aluminum prevents unwanted reactions that interfere with the battery's longevity, at least that's what I got from the article.

Voltage. (4, Insightful)

lindseyp (988332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156869)

Another advance I'd like to see in Battery Technology, that is for rechargeable batteries to be the same voltage as their alkaline counterparts.

There are many applications where 1.2V just doesn't substitute well for 1.5V.

Re:Voltage. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19156973)

Another advance I'd like to see in Battery Technology, that is for rechargeable batteries to be the same voltage as their alkaline counterparts.

There are many applications where 1.2V just doesn't substitute well for 1.5V.

Chemistry is what it is. There is no reasonably efficient way of changing the output voltage of a chemical cell.

Instead, you should be pressing your consumer goods manufacturers to design circuits optimized for, or at least fully tolerant of, rechargeable battery voltages.

Re:Voltage. (1)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157511)

Unfortunately that is sometimes not easy to do. A lot of IC's will still run of 3V minimum, and even that is considered low power stuff. Some microcontrollers will run on 1.8V min (e.g. MSP430), and that is easily achievable using 2 AAA NiMh batteries. If you want to run any of your other ICs, you need to design a switchmode power supply which just takes up room on your PCB (to convert up to 5V say). Therefore, its much easier to just use a Lithium Ion battery. Single cell - 3.6V. Its still rechargeable, just more expensive. (and not to mention it is much harder to recharge a lithium battery compared to a NiMH battery).

Re:Voltage. (1)

thogard (43403) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159461)

Thats why more and more things are using 3 batteries... but the charges are designed to charge in pairs.

Re:Voltage. (1)

philpalm (952191) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156989)

They do have rechargeable alkaline batteries. Maybe it is a new formulation to make the rechargeable ones have increased recharging cycles before finally breaking down. Believe it or not you can recharge "regular" alkalines. However recharging them is not foolproof. When they are overcharged they tend to leak a liquid or (maybe as they say on the label) explode. I haven't exploded any of my alkalines yet. When they go below a certain level on my old Pda (handspring) I am experimenting charging them in a NiMh a pair of AAA at 2.8 V at 200mA no longer than 25 minutes. So far I've had one leak and slighly messed up my charger....

Re:Voltage. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157361)

It's also not any better than just letting them sit overnight. They "recover" a fraction of their original capacity whether or not you run a current through them. (or rather, most applications depress the voltage long before depleting the actual capacity, then the voltage recovers between uses.)

In your experiment, don't forget about the "control" batteries.

Re:Voltage. (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157183)

I'd rather see *standard* lithium-ion rechargeable battery sizes, so that manufacturers could just quit designing things for alkalines. They wouldn't even have to handle recharging (if they didn't want to), just let the user pop the batteries out and into a charger.

My baby monitor uses AAs, and I *can* put nicads or nimhs in, but they go dead just from self-discharge as fast as they do from use, so I stick to cheap Kirkland alkalines. I keep daydreaming of putting a single litium-ion cell in it, and adding a charging circuit tied into the power socket, I don't think I'll have enough room in it.

Re:Voltage. (4, Informative)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157271)

My baby monitor uses AAs, and I *can* put nicads or nimhs in, but they go dead just from self-discharge as fast as they do from use, so I stick to cheap Kirkland alkalines.

The new Sanyo Eneloop [thomasdistributing.com] NiMH batteries don't have that problem.

I recently $wapped out my vast collection of piss-poor Energizer (2500 mAH) AAs for Eneloop (2000 mAH) AAs, and there's no going back!

Re:Voltage. (2, Insightful)

ectal (949842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159521)

The Eneloops are great.

They live in my Wii remotes and really do hold a charge waay better than normal nimhs. And as a bonus the white and blue design of the batteries makes them look like they were made for the Wii. (Seems like a missed co-branding opportunity.)

Re:Voltage. (2, Insightful)

Rolgar (556636) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161253)

I was researching this earlier this week. The Hybrio [peswiki.com] also looks good. I'd like to try the Eneloops with the C and D size adapters, so I can recharge those as well.

As I was reading reviews, I found that several reviewers recommended getting a nice charger. The recommended one to get is the Maha Powerex MH-C401FS. Each of the slots charges independently so you can charge any number instead of 2 or 4 at a time only, supports AA and AAA, or NiMH, it can charge in fast mode (100 minutes) or slow (5-8 hours), gives the best charge, and seems to be the gentlest on the batteries while giving the best charge, which makes it a great investment for battery purchases. It costs $40, but it looks like a great investment if it will save me that much money on disposable batteries the first year I own it.

Re:Voltage. (3, Informative)

norton_I (64015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157471)

Any device which will not run on 1.2 V is poorly designed. Alkaline batteries drop in voltage nearly linearly over their lifetime from 1.5 V to about 1.0 V. Devices can and should run over this full range of voltages. NiMH batteries, by comparison, stay roughly 1.2 V for most of their charge cycle. There is simply no excuse for designing something that does not work for half the life of an Alkaline battery.

Re:Voltage. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157575)

I suppose you know a lot about electronics design to be making such a judgment. Get out of dream world and hop on over to the real world.

Re:Voltage. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158795)

I suppose you know a lot about electronics design to be making such a judgment.
Yep, I worked for 4.5 years in an electrical engineering firm, designing the electronics for hand-held consumer products, with a particular focus on the supply side.

In particular, consumer products that can't deal with 1.2v cells simply have a supply-side electronic design that is 30+ years old. A lot of old designs get reused over and over again, as their patents have expired and the designers find it easy to replay the same theme over and over again.

Although it generally costs no money to design and build something that works properly using 0.9 to 1.8 v cells, some manufacturers like to milk old designs well beyond their useful life, because any engineering or manufacturing change costs at least some money.

So riddle me this (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19158187)

Why is it that so many things take, say 4AA batteries (alkaline or rechargeables) but when it comes to the wall wart, it wants ONLY 5.2V or 5.8V or 6V or ...

Dire warnings and seventy-six versions of the same piggin thing with no real identifiable difference (so you have to hunt for the right one in the drawer) or ignore their prediction and stick a generic 6V wall-wart in it.

So why do they take such varying voltage in the battery but not the wall-wart?

Re:Voltage. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157659)

Another advance I'd like to see in Battery Technology, that is for rechargeable batteries to be the same voltage as their alkaline counterparts.

There are many applications where 1.2V just doesn't substitute well for 1.5V.


Battery voltage is determined by its chemistry.. So unfortunately not possible!

why (2, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156891)

TFA talks about a zing aluminum alloy with the aluminum acting as a sacrificial electrode to prevent an oxide layer from forming on the zinc but aluminum forms a very hard oxide layer too so how exactly does it solve anything if it's an alloy? it will just form the oxide layer anyway and impede current flow. now if it were a seperate electrode you would have a problem where the current mainly originates from the aluminum electrode not the zinc so in that case why have the zinc there? for that matter why are we still using these alkaline battery formulas? they end up with this problem when an acidic formula probably wouldnt from the oxide layer in the first place.

Re:why (2, Interesting)

richard.cs (1062366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158351)

It will just form the oxide layer anyway and impede current flow.

Aluminium oxide dissolves in sufficiently strong alkali (it's the method used to prepare aluminium parts for anodizing). I don't know if the electrolyte in the battery is sufficient to do this but that might be the explaination.

Two words... (1)

Patent Lover (779809) | more than 7 years ago | (#19156939)

... Patent it.

Re:Two words... (1)

cabd (970146) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157007)

RTFA
They did patent it!

Aluminum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19156999)

If this is what Aluminum can do, imagine if they used Aluminium!

May I be the first to say (4, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157055)

I'm glad we live in a world with zinc.

Re:May I be the first to say (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157453)

Youtube linkage

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxXt1AdSamA [youtube.com]

Re:May I be the first to say (1)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157769)

And here's the spoof that that spoof spoofed:

Kentucky Fried Movie - Zinc Oxide [youtube.com]

Re:May I be the first to say (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158847)

I never saw that spoof, but had always assumed that the zinc movie was a spoof of this:

A Case of Spring Fever [archive.org]

Re:May I be the first to say (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19161033)

Zinc!!!! Come Back Zinc!!!

Thank goodness I still live in a world of telephones, car batteries,
      handguns [*bang*!] and many things made of zinc.
      -- Jimmy, a character in one of those stupid educational films,
            ``Bart the Lover''

With all these advancements... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157133)

With all these advancements in batteries of late, my next battery might be my last battery -- in 5 years!

Re:With all these Amazing advancements... (1)

Boogaroo (604901) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157405)

Don't be silly. By then it'll be a different shape for your new laptop and you'll need a whole new battery that's TRULY different and revolutionary.

Forget Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19157241)

Someone just need to make a device can be strapped on an arm and use the continual arm movement the user engages in when looking at porn to power the laptop...

Run time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19159501)

Someone just need to make a device can be strapped on an arm and use the continual arm movement the user engages in when looking at porn to power the laptop.

So... three minutes, tops?

Wow... (1)

poor_boi (548340) | more than 7 years ago | (#19157991)

I'm glad Hitachi decided to run this by me first, before bringing these extended-life batteries to market. Just schlepping longer-lasting batteries on the market like that could be a bad idea. I mean, some people really like it when their devices die on them mid-week.

Who want to use non-rechargeable batteries anymore (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158449)

I only use rechargeable batteries. They can be recharged 1000 times before they die, so they are extremely cheaper than the traditional ones.

Also, the ability to use the same battery for years and years makes it a lot more environmentally friendly. Just imagine, for a particular gadget you have, how many times you have thrown batteries away. The environmental cost per Wh is a complete nonsense.

Re:Who want to use non-rechargeable batteries anym (1)

Stevecrox (962208) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158961)

For me atleast they last far longer, I have alot of wireless devices most of which aren't placed in chargers (like my mouse and keyboard) over the last year I get the following battery lifetimes (In my Microsoft Intelimouse Explorer 2.0):
Duracell : 3 months
Woolworths : 3 Weeks
Energiser : 2 weeks (any of the varities)
Rechargeables : 4-6 months

GP rechargeable will last you forever and the charge doesn't degrade I'm using a set of GP's from 4 years ago which still last longer than my new Panasonic rechargables. Their the most expensive (two AA GP rechargeable were twice as expensive as 6 AA Panasonic's) but why non rechargable batteries are still sold is beyond me. Duracell make the best batteries but I've never come accross a rechargeable by them.

Re:Who want to use non-rechargeable batteries anym (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 7 years ago | (#19159207)

If common batteries started paying an environmental tax, people would switch. There's no motivation for change, right now. The same for incandescent light bulbs.

It's all psychological. The anti-environmental behavior is actually a lot more expensive, but people don't do anything because they don't feel the cost. I try to convince people to use rechargeable batteries and gas light bulbs with rational arguments, I make the calculations in front of them to show the money they would spare. The answer is always "but they are more expensive".

EV Bunny w/ 12ft. afterburner flame! Oh!No! (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158615)

So, then what you're saying is these burn longer than the Dell/Sony Laptop batteries?
Can I order some in time for July 4th?

Yawn (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158919)

Other than things where the batteries might get lost or destroyed or in things that I rarely use, such as in the many dive lights I've had flood then go boom, or that 3 cell mag light behind the seat of my truck, I stopped using Alkalines ten years ago. You are silly if you aren't using NiMH's in everything. Sure they last half as long and cost three times as much, but considering you can recharge them 100+ times they pay for themselves pretty quickly.

Trade-offs (1)

Count_Froggy (781541) | more than 7 years ago | (#19158991)

Like everything in life, there are trade-offs. There is nothing wrong with your choices - for your circumstances. Traveling extensively, as I do, I don't want the hassle of carrying multiple sets of rechargeable batteries and a charger for every size I need on the road (AA, AAA, 9V). I prefer the ease of longer life and lower cost purchase already charged. I understand I am paying more overall for the batteries, but if I factor in the reduced medical costs of one less back surgery because of the weight of my pack or the saved time by not having to deal with the TSA people any more than I already have to, I come out ahead!

Who believes ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19159285)

a poster with a name like 'space-mongoose' can tell his ass from his elbow, much less design battery chemistry.

Why should we waste our important time reading inept postings like this? Mod this entire thread down!!!

Fine powder... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#19160343)

"Hitachi's solution is to replace the zinc with a fine powder of zinc-aluminum alloy [...]"

What, no nano powder?
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