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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 number999 on 10/10/2006 3:45:10 PM , Rating: 2
tree-huggers put the kibosh on nuclear power

Hey, I don't think that's fair. The way we regulate the industry and how it developed put it in trouble.

You can't actual start paying off the costs of a nuclear power plant until it's completed. For a multi-billion dollar plant that takes years - well that's a lot of interest. The lead times have increased hugely, increasing the costs.

Many of the early plants were derived from military projects. Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace pushed nuclear reactors into the public probably way too soon with way too many design flaws. It was Admiral Rickover who oversaw the developement of navel reactors, who then oversaw Shippingport. Many reactors were created out of nationalism rather than economics or out of a sense of modernism for the utilities.

Presently, there are reactor designs today that have addressed a lot of the problems of the old reactors but those old reactors have 50-60 years of operational life. We inherited the problems that they have and they have seeped into the national idea of what nuclear power is all about and not just to the tree huggers but to almost everyone.

As for the insane course of burning fossil fuels, there's no one to blame but ourselves. The President of France said it simply "we have no oil, no gas, we have no choice" and went on a nuclear power plant expansion. The US on the other hand gave tax breaks for oil and gas developement, let cars have worse milage today than in the 70's and basically stuck it's collective head in the sand in the name of consumerism and keeping the status quo.

Ironically, it's more likely the tree huggers that are most likely to be the first takers of any new more efficient technology, usually paying a premium for it.

And lastly, I'm realizing that all of this has absolutely nothing to do with 24 hr laptops, so I'm outta here.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
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