By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
ZPower announced that it is currently working with leading manufacturers of notebook computers, cellphones and smartphones to incorporate silver-zinc battery technology in next-generation products.
According to the company, a silver-zinc battery option will be rolled out "in a major notebook computer in 2009." The battery is slated to be released as a premium extended-life battery, and the notebook will be "dual chemistry enabled," which means it will work with either silver-zinc or traditional lithium-ion batteries.
According to ZPower, its silver-zinc battery offers up to 40 percent more run time than traditional lithium-ion batteries. In addition, more than 95 percent of the battery's elements can be recycled. The raw materials recovered in the recycling process of the batteries are the same quality as those that go into the creation of the battery, so environmental impact is lessened since the need to mine for new materials is minimized.
Also, ZPower said it will be one of the first companies to offer financial incentives to consumers who recycle their silver-zinc batteries, the company said.
Silver-zinc batteries feature a water-based chemistry that is not flammable and contains no lithium, so they are not subject to recent FAA air travel restrictions on lithium-ion batteries.
Dr. Ross Dueber, president and CEO of ZPower, discussed the industry's first silver-zinc battery technology for consumer electronics in an address at the Batteries 2008 conference in Nice, France last week, a worldwide exhibition focused on power supply, with more than 400 attendees.
"At the heart of the $55 billion global battery market is the chemical conundrum of power supply," said Dueber. "Today's consumer has the ability to watch an entire movie on a palm-sized device — but portable power technology has not kept up. Engineers admit that they are hitting the wall on lithium-polymer and lithium-ion performance. Unstable lithium-ion batteries have resulted in a high number of product recalls by manufacturers of notebook computers. These market trends are creating a pressing need for a better battery."
According to ZPower, recent improvements in battery-cycle life allow silver-zinc batteries to endure more than 200 cycles at 100 percent discharge "and thousands of cycles at intermediate discharge."
ZPower demonstrated the batteries at the Intel Developer Forum in August.
The company, originally known as Zinc Matrix Power, changed its name to ZPower in early 2007. Its investors include Intel, OnPoint Technologies, which is a venture capital fund of the United States Army, and PowerVentures, a private equity group.
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