BACKGROUND: Matsushita Electric Industrial has developed a battery that delivers 1.5 times the power of a regular alkaline battery, and is cheaper than the lithium batteries used in many electronics devices.
HOW IT WORKS: Any battery converts chemical energy into electricity. There are two ends, called terminals: one is positively charged, while the other is negatively charged. Opposite charges attract. So when these two ends are connected by a metallic wire, electrons will flow from the negatively charged terminal to the positively charged one. This flow makes an electric current in the wire. The current can be used for power, simply by attaching a light bulb, for example.
A battery continually produces new electrons at the negative terminal from a series of chemical reactions. So the battery essentially acts like a pump, pulling electrons from the negative end of the conducting wire and pushing them into the positive end. A battery only holds a certain amount of reactants, and once those are used up, there can be no more chemical reactions, and the battery is dead.
ADVANTAGES: The voltage of a battery varies depending on the kinds of metals and chemicals used. Duracell and Energizer brands use alkaline combined with zinc and manganese oxide. Laptop computers and cell phones use lithium-ion batteries. Oxyride batteries maintain higher voltage and output longer because they use oxy-nickel hydride, along with finer grain graphite and manganese dioxide. The company has figured out how to blend these ingredients so more can be stuffed inside a battery. An Oxyride-powered digital camera, for example, can take twice as many pictures as one powered by a standard lithium battery.
IEEE-USA contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.