Feeds

Lithium-ion battery beater to debut in 'major' laptop release

ZPower's silver-zinc tech finally coming to market?

High performance access to file storage

Left-field battery developer ZPower has signed up a "major notebook computer" manufacturer, which will release a laptop fitted with its silver-zinc power packs next year.

Unsurprisingly, perhaps, ZPower isn't saying who it is. Still, it's a coup for ZPower, which has been trying to persuade the world for a few years now that it has a better rechargeable battery solution that lithium-ion.

Its central pitch is that its technology delivers power for longer than a same-size lithium-ion battery will, and that it does so in a form not only more eco-friendly but one that has no risk of spontaneous combustion too.

ZPower's projections have silver-zinc beating lithium-ion energy density by 30-40 per cent, a lead it claims can only increase over time as silver-zinc technology continues to evolve.

The basic structure of the cell sandwiches a separator between composite polymer zinc anode and a silver cathode. The battery contains water, so it's not inflammable, and there's no lithium present. ZPower says its cells don't need all the thermal regulation circuitry that lithium-ion batteries do to prevent them from overheating.

Silver-zinc batteries have been tried before, but past designs suffered from short-circuits as tree-like structures called dendrites form on the anode over time. This distorts the shape of the anode, pushing it through the separation layer to make contact with the cathode. Result: no power.

ZPower says the polymers in its anode structure inhibit dendrite formation, significantly minimising the risk of the short circuit.

And the green angle? The company maintains that 95 per cent of the key components of a silver-zinc battery can be recycled and used to make new batteries. Recycled parts, it says, are just as good as fresh ones.

Maybe, but lithium-ion battery production dwarfs anything ZPower can output, and the technology is priced accordingly. The spate of notebook fires from 2006 have done nothing to dampen gadget maker's reliance on the technology.

Silver-zinc may be better, but it's not yet proven in the field. Which is why ZPower's mysterious design win is so important. In the past, it has said it's "working with Tier One notebook computer and cell phone manufacturers", but that has largely centred on technology evaluation. This time, we're going to see silver-zinc in a real product. Could this be the event that puts the technology on the map?

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Report: Apple seeking to raise iPhone 6 price by a HUNDRED BUCKS
'Well, that 5c experiment didn't go so well – let's try the other direction'
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Nvidia gamers hit trifecta with driver, optimizer, and mobile upgrades
Li'l Shield moves up to Android 4.4.2 KitKat, GameStream comes to notebooks
AMD unveils Godzilla's graphics card – 'the world's fastest, period'
The Radeon R9 295X2: Water-cooled, 5,632 stream processors, 11.5TFLOPS
Sony battery recall as VAIO goes out with a bang, not a whimper
The perils of having Panasonic as a partner
NORKS' own smartmobe pegged as Chinese landfill Android
Fake kit in the hermit kingdom? That's just Kim Jong-un-believable!
Gimme a high S5: Samsung Galaxy S5 puts substance over style
Biometrics and kid-friendly mode in back-to-basics blockbuster
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.