Power to the people

One of the key limiting features in the technology sector is battery performance.Processors, memory chips, storage media and new screen technologies have all come down in cost with time and improvements in process technologies so that we are paying less money for IT gadgets on an ongoing basis.

Where the model falls down is battery technology which has not been improving at anything like the same rate.

It’s the achilles heel of the iPod, laptops and my portable DVD player. Some Japanese companies (notably Panasonic, Toshiba and NEC) have looked at using fuel cells instead.

Real Business 50 to watch (February 2006 page 38) had a nice vanity paragraph for Oxis Energy who make big claims for their lithium sulphide (sulfide for all you American chemists) technology versus lithium-ion and nickel-cadmium with up to five times the power and a 40 per cent cost saving.Ultralife whose customers include the US military use lithium-sulphur (sulfur) dioxide technology is a key competitor in this sector and rival technologies utilise manganese dioxide instead of sulphur.

I ran a quick search on science search engine Scirus and found some 500 abstracts and articles on the area of lithium-sulphur battery technology. It looks like things could get interesting in this sector.

Picture courtesy of Energizer.com: the Energizer bunny and name are trademarks of Energizer.