“The Power of Zinc compels you!”
While a little on the corny side (and we know that ‘Zinc’ is most definitely not a letter, and is certainly not made out of corn), these are the words that immediately came to mind when reading about battery start-up company Imprint Energy, and it’s recent developments towards zinc batteries that could revolutionize the wearable electronics industry, not to mention shine a new light on a few others.
Founded in 2010 by Berkeley students Brooks Kincaid and Christine Ho, the 8-person-small company is, with funding from Dow Chemical and CIA’s venture capital fund In-Q-Tel, working to produce ultra-thin, affordable, zinc polymer batteries created from flexible, durable films possessing ionic conductivity.
The flexibility of the batteries could allow for drastic developments in the fields of wearable electronics, health devices, and consumer gadgetry, that were previously made difficult or impossible with the current lithium polymer applications, due mostly to lithium toxicity and reactivity necessitating the currently used rather inflexible protective packaging.
The company believes the batteries will have performance on par with that of current lithium batteries, and cites the fact that they are safer and have a much lower toxicity level as well.
Our small team here at ediscountbatteries.com are all particularly excited to see what kind of gizmo development may result from such an advancement; the idea of wearable smartphone/wristbands, and perhaps a wireless RSS reader ring definitely have a high level of techno-geek appeal, and to add to the enjoyment the batteries will have a lower production cost than their current gen cousins, so you won’t have to spend an arm (they might still cost you a leg though) to reap the benefits! Who knows, maybe in the next decade we will all have our computing devices and other electronic whatchamahoos all simultaneously built into the fabric of our shoes. Just make sure you don’t forget them at the bowling alley!
With the first commercial applications of the battery design slated for release within the next two years, it shouldn’t be too long before we are mopping ourselves off with ‘smart’ towels that will gauge and display the precise amount of sweat we exuded during our afternoon workout; this is purely our speculation of course, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to get the idea out there! (:wink: devs!)
From a purely technological standpoint, the whole thing is rather ingenious. Where previous zinc batteries were rendered largely non-chargeable due to the formation of dendrites (strange metallic fur which sometimes spontaneously grows from a metallic surface), Imprint Energy believes that by using a solid polymer in conjunction with zinc will overcome the issue, allowing them to succeed where previous applications have failed.
With the ability to print the battery materials like ink on screens into nearly any shape imaginable, the sky is the limit to the applications of this amazing new technology.
What a cool decade this is churning out to be!
For the time being though, and throughout the next couple of years at least, lithium-polymer batteries are the closest thing we got; You can find a collection of high quality Lithium Polymer batteries for amazing prices in the LiPo section of our battery store here.