Hitachi has come up with what it claims is a compound capable of doubling the longevity of lithium-ion batteries - the rechargeable cells found in everything from e-cars to iPads. Today's Li-ion batteries have limited lifespans thanks to the build up of crystal deposits within the electrolyte that hinder the movement of charge …
How about replaceable, generic Li-ion cells?
I'd be more convinced about companies reducing the impact on the environment if they chose to use replacable and standardised Li-Ion cells in devices (there are some, but they are not widely used). As it is, as often as not, when a device is replaced then the internal batteries go too or, even where they are replaceable, such as many DSLRs or camcorders, you are faced with incompatible types, often chipped so you are locked into the equipment supplier.
With generic, replacable, cells we could all benefit from improved technology, just as we have with other formats. Li-Ion batteries all have similar electro-chemical charging characteristics (which is why you can get generic charges) and where chips are included to show remaining charge (rather than just as an anti-competitive measure) then standard interfaces could be produced. Of course there would have to be many more cell formats than there is for Ni-Mh due to the range of different device types now, but it would still be a tiny fraction of the number of proprietary formats out there.
We want batteries that hold more charge for a given size, not ones that last longer before dying. It's nice to have the option to swap out your battery when needed (I'm looking at you, Apple), but 99% of the time you've thrown your device out and bought the latest, greatest gadget to replace it long before the battery has died.
Sure for gadgets...
"""but 99% of the time you've thrown your device out and bought the latest, greatest gadget to replace it long before the battery has died."""
But, as mentioned in the article, these batteries are used beyond gadgetry, for instance cars. Twice the battery lifetime means that a hybrid would last twice as long before becoming entirely useless, and if the damned things are going to catch on like people predict, then it'll be rather better for the environment to cut battery replacements in half.
I also tend to use laptops for years, and I'd appreciate if they managed to maintain a bit of charge when they're 4 years old (And nobody sells a replacement battery any more.)
Of course, but I'm totally obsessed with my new smartphone, and currently unable to think of batteries in the context of anything else. :)
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