Zpower have announced that their impressive silver-zinc battery technology will be coming to market in 2009 in a major notebook computer. According to the company, the technology can provide up to 40% longer run-time than Lithium-ion cells and also have a faster recharge time. Silver-zinc cells contain zero lithium and are over 95% recyclable.
Zpower, a company that counts Intel Capital as one of their investors, have also said they are in talks with several high profile OEMs to introduce silver-zinc batteries in future cell phones and laptops. They claim that their new cells have the highest power density of any battery in the consumer market.
The cells are inherently safe with water-based chemistry that is non-flammable. This factor should prove popular amid growing concerns over the safety of Li-ion cells, due to numerous incidents where they have caught fire or exploded.
Another factor that works in silver-zinc’s favor is the large potential for further increases in performance. Development in Li-ion cells seems to have reached a plateau, with scientists having trouble squeezing any more performance from the technology.
Silver-zinc cells are, as the name suggests, primarily composed of silver and zinc – both of which are fully recyclable. These two materials also maintain their quality and are simple to extract, enabling reuse many times over and reducing the need to mine for new metals.
Silver-zinc cells may well be the future if they perform as claimed. There is no word on whether they suffer from the memory effect which plagued earlier NiCd batteries, but I would assume that they do not, as they would never gain acceptance in today’s marketplace.