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Lithium-Ion batteries will still be the power source of choice for notebooks in the foreseeable future

There have been battery recalls announced in the past few months involving names such as Dell, Lenovo, Apple, Toshiba, Matsushita/Panasonic, and Fujitsu. The seemingly weekly recall announcements have had many industry watchers and consumers asking for alternatives to current battery technology. But for all the talk of exploding batteries and with recalled units now topping the 7 million, the industry will be sticking with lithium-ion batteries for the foreseeable future.

As shocking as the number of recalls may seem, there have still been fewer than 50 incidents involving the faulty batteries. Also, companies like Hewlett-Packard have yet to announce recalls for its Sony-manufactured batteries and has no plans to do so. The company is confident in the safety of its battery packs and lithium-ion batteries as a whole.

Quite frankly, there really is no credible alternative to lithium-ion technology at the moment. For all the talk of fuel cell technology, which Toshiba recently had on display, the infrastructure to make such technology viable for consumers is not yet in place. eWeek reports:

Moreover, although the recalls have sparked moves by some in the PC industry to increase the care with which lithium-ion cells are manufactured—one group is working to establish universal cell manufacturing standards, for example—there appear to be few lithium-ion alternatives on the horizon at the moment that don't involve trade-offs in energy density, cost or both. Some options, such as zinc-silver batteries, use entirely different chemistries, while others reformulate lithium-ion designs by introducing new materials. Numerous manufacturers are also designing fuel cells, which convert hydrogen into electricity. But none are without challenges, ensuring that in the absence of a dark horse replacement candidate, lithium-ion or some version of the chemistry is likely to power notebooks for years to come.

So while we may not see an alternative to lithium-ion technology take over in the near future, there are other ways to squeeze more run time out of notebooks. The Mobile PC Extended Battery Life (EBL) Working Group is collaborating to ensure that business notebooks will be able to operate for eight hours on a charge by the year 2008. The group is working to develop 72-watt hour batteries, 3-watt 14" and 15" XGA LCD panels and dramatically reduce power requirements in processor/chipset designs to achieve this goal.

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RE: 24-hr laptop
By Shining Arcanine on 10/9/2006 6:59:23 PM , Rating: 2
Regardless, electric vehicles are better than gasoline burning vehicles. Coal power plants are more efficient than gasoline burning vehicles, and thus, even if all of the electric vehicles in the world were to run off electricity from coal, they would still be more efficient.

Of course, there are two problems with coal. The first is that the coal is not burned efficiently, as current coal burning power plants, which the US uses have 40% efficiency, while molten carbon fuel cell power plants have upwards of 80% efficiency. This is because energy legislation omits coal power plants from emissions requirements; if that were to change, this would change. The seonc is that coal is rich in radioactive material, thus any form of energy extraction that involves carbon dioxide production is inhereitly inefficient when you consider the much larger amount of energy that you can extract from coal through nuclear fission. A nuclear fission power plant and uranium extraction facility could get far greater amounts of energy out of coal than any coal power plant ever could, without the CO2 emissions and with negligible radiation emissions, especially when compared to the cancer causing levels that are released into the atmosphere from coal power plants today. We have released more radioactive material into the environment through the burning of coal than detonating every nuclear bomb in the world ever could release, and you can include the bombs from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War nuclear weapons tests and the WWII nuclear weapons tests without modifying the fact that we have placed more uranium, thorium and other radioactive elemtns into the atmosphere through burning coal than nuclear war ever could.

We are moving towards a coal free world. It will take another president like Ronald Reagan or Theodore Roosevelt before we see that happen though, especially with the Democrat's recent popularity. If the Democrats were to try this, they would make things even worse.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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