CES 2010: Lunch @ Piero’s

PowerGenix batteries use a potentially revolutionary new rechargeable battery technology, a Nickel-Zinc (NiZn) formula instead of the standard for today’s rechargables, NiMH, or nickel-metal hydride. Its primary NiZn competitor, A123 Systems, had some press coverage a while ago because of its IPO, proving that the market is ready for NiZn batteries. PowerGenix wants in and has an excellent product. It’s just a matter of educating the consumer, really.

The problem is that NiMH and older Nickel-Cadmium (NiCd) rechargeable batteries provide 1.2V. Most cameras and other high-power devices which rely on a certain voltage die if the voltage drops below 1.1V. When a rechargeable loses its charge, it slowly drops below that threshold and becomes unusable and must be recharged. Alkaline batteries last longer in terms of voltage, as they provide approximately 1.5V, but have fewer milliamphours (mAh) capacity than NiMH and Lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries.

CES 2010: Lunch @ Piero's CES 2010: Lunch @ Piero's

PowerGenix’s NiZn batteries provide that 1.6V of power, but have a lower overall mAh capacity than NiMH. However, this doesn’t hamper NiZn’s performance because the overall millwatthours (mWh) is higher: it can last longer because the voltage drop doesn’t happen until much further in the battery’s discharging. Also, because the voltage is higher, flashes on cameras recharge faster.

The other great thing about NiZn batteries is that they are 100% recyclable (unlike other batteries), 100% non-toxic (unlike NiCd), and 100% non-combustible (unlike Li-ion).

PowerGenix provides a comprehensive FAQ on its web site. I suggest a read of it for anyone interested in improving the battery life of devices, which should be everyone.

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