Industry Trends For Battery Technologies

Written by Joy MacKay
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Recently, a team of scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory developed a metal alloy that could greatly improve the performance of rechargeable batteries used in portable computing devices such as notebooks, personal digital assistants, and laptops. The scientists at the Energy Department lab in Upton, N.Y., set out to decrease the cost of the metal hydroxide in nickel batteries, the most popular rechargeables on the market.

The new alloy, which is composed of lanthanum, nickel, tin, and substitutes for cobalt, has a high capacity for storing a charge and resists corrosion well. Cobalt is also relatively expensive. Traditionally, it was thought that you absolutely had to have cobalt in these batteries, but you don't.

New Batteries Better For The Environment

Another plus of the new alloy: It's less dangerous to the environment because it contains no highly toxic cadmium. By replacing the cobalt with tin, the scientists changed the ratio of the components in the alloy, which altered the structure of the active material in the battery electrode. The resulting batteries can hold charges longer than the ones being sold today and are rechargeable a greater number of times.

On the power supply side of the equation, new onboard microchips extend the intelligence of these systems, maximizing the power consumption and minimizing the impact on your sensitive, highly complex notebook, laptop, and desktop components. With multiple drives being the norm these days - dvd drives, cd-rws, larger hard drives - managing these power hungry components with smart battery and power supply technology makes this market extremely competitive.


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