Electronics Makers Lead the Charge in Quest for Longer Battery Life
But trouble is looming for the battery world. While lithium-ion batteries represent today’s cutting edge, the gadgetry that depends on them is advancing more quickly than the power technology. As mobile devices take on richer features, battery life has become a key issue for gadget developers, and now manufacturers need to go one better than lithium-ion, in both size and energy output.
With power technology lagging, many new mobile technologies that could be brought to market may have to be kept on hold, some analysts say. “You need some kind of technological breakthrough to close the gap,” said one executive from a major technology manufacturer. NTT DoCoMo Inc., the leading Japanese mobile carrier, stumbled with its third-generation phones a year ago in part because of low battery life. The phone gave out after 30 minutes of continuous video-call use. CONTINUE
COMMENTARY: Keep an eye on this situation – boosting battery life is utterly crucial to making the rest of the mobile future happen. Fuel cell technology appears to be promising, and a fuel cell could provide power to a notebook PC, for example, for up to 20 hours (Casio Computer has already revealed such a trial device; it weighs about half as much as the previous lithium-ion battery pack). In 1990, Nickel Cadmium batteries were state-of-the-art and had a charging time of 8 hours and an energy density of 40 Watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg). The Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries used today in PDAs, cell phones, and notebooks have a typical charge time of 3 hours and an energy density of around 150 Wh/kg. By comparison, a fuel cell offers charging times of a few seconds and an energy density of 1,000 Wh/kg. But, in addition to problems with heat and flammability, cost is still a big issue for fuel cells.
Battery Fuel Cell Technology:
Fuel Cells Move Beyond Science Fiction & Pure Hype