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by Mike Zazaian September 6, 2006 - 11:42pm, 2 Comments

Powerbook Explodes

After the brash of Lithium-Ion battery explosions in laptops over the past month, companies seek a safer, longer-lasting solution.

Batteries produced by the Sony Corporation for mobile computing solutions have been under fire in recent months for overheating, melting, and in some cases exploding. Many of these problems stem from the liquid lithium cells, which contain volatile chemicals and are prone to producing excess heat.

Companies now seek to eliminate these PR-nightmare incidents with Thin-Film Lithium batteries, a technology still in its prototype stage. Thin-Film batteries produce less heat, contain a solid, less volatile core, and can withstand thousands of recharges without losing power.

Infinite Power Solutions announced today that it has received $34.7 million from private investors to research and produce its technology, which is due for production next year. One problem remains for Infinite and its attempt to bring the Thin-Film batteries to market: it’s buyers have already invested billions of dollars in outdated battery technologies. This and this alone, not cost, not production limitations, will keep the thin-film batteries from the market in the near future.

Still, many industry analysts are optimistic about the impact the batteries will have in the long-term. Susan Eustis, president of WinterGreen Research in Lexington, Mass, remarked on the probable future of the technology:

The market for thin-film batteries will approach 10 billion units by 2012.

The new thin-film batteries will certainly make some impact on our mobile electronics in coming years, especially for products that are still in development and don’t rely on a certain type of battery standard. The batteries are also being considered for use in cell phones and PDFs, pretty much anything with a re-chargable batter, ensuring that Thin-Film Lithium will be one of the most important technologies over the next decade.