We've been playing with Apple's iPad
over the past few days (expect a
full review soon), and we're amazed by the battery life. But as tech
enthusiasts, we're always yearning for more. Hitachi
seems to agree
with us in thinking that there's really no battery
that lasts long
enough, and their R&D lab has been working away in an attempt to
double the life of convention Li-ion batteries that are used in
everything from notebooks to vehicles.
A Japanese report notes that the company is using a manganese
positive-electrode material to extend the life, with specifics as
follows: 1) replacing part of the manganese contained in the
material with another element to stabilize the crystal structure and 2)
adding an acid-resistant composite oxide (an oxide that contains
more than one metallic element) to the positive-electrode material to
reduce the elution of manganese into the electrolyte.
Best of all, Hitachi has created a prototype of the device already, and
the conclusion they have drawn is that this technique makes it possible
to realize a battery whose "capacity decreases at half the rate and
whose life is twice as long
(more than 10 years) compared with the company's existing battery
cell." It's expected that the new material, if turned into something
commercial, would mainly be used for storing energy at renewable
energy-based power plant, but there's nothing stopping this from
filtering into the world of consumer tech in the future.
Will the next generation iPad last for 20 hours instead of ten? Thanks to Hitachi, we can hope.