New Technology Promises Longer Battery Life

It has often been said that patience is a virtue. Patience can also be profitable. For the last 10 years or so, ZPower--a battery technology company in California--has been been busy toiling away on a silver-zinc rechargeable technology that aims to replace the lithium-ion battery technology that is so ubiquitous of late in portable products:

"ZPower's efforts are based on existing silver zinc technology, offering greater power density (essentially, how much electricity a battery can hold) than lithium ion, thus requiring fewer recharges before becoming useless. The battery will hold a charge about 40 percent longer than the normal four-hour period."

Getting laptops to regularly last past four hours of battery life has been the Holy Grail of laptop design for quite some time. Small efficiencies in power consumption have been made in the last few years with lower-power processors, displays, and components; but these improvements typically add up to only small increases in battery life--somewhere in the 10 to 15-percent range at best.

We've been hearing for some time now about potential new battery technologies that can provide significant improvements in battery life, such as hydrogen-cell batteries. But ZPower's silver-zinc-based batteries represent the first new viable technology that's actually ready for market. With financial backing from Intel, U.S. Army-based venture-capital OnePoint Technologies fund, and private-equity group PowerVentures, ZPower "will unveil its first product through a major technology partner in August."

In addition to being a more efficient battery technology, it is also more eco-friendly with recyclable components and a ZPower-sponsored refund/credit-based recycling program. ZPower claims to hold 16 patents on rechargeable silver-zinc battery technology.