Wearable technology is all the rage, and since we all love our portable, battery powered gadgets, there’s a great deal of demand on the industry to keep power sources small, while providing a long lasting power source. This is something which manufacturers have struggled with. Common cylindrical batteries are easily available in rechargeable formats, but their size makes them difficult to put into a watch, remote control car keys, or medical kit like glucose meters. Essentially, if the manufacturer wants to keep their product portable, coin cell batteries are the way to go. It’s just a shame that you can’t buy a rechargeable coin cell – or can you?
Swiss battery manufacturers, Renata, part of the group which brought you the Swatch Watch, have developed the first rechargeable coin cell battery, powered by lithium manganese dioxide, after concluding intensive work on the chemistry surrounding lithium batteries.
Lithium is the newest, and most advanced form of rechargeable battery. Unlike NiCD batteries, lithium rechargeables don’t need you to wait until they’re completely out of power before you can recharge them. With some NiCD batteries, if you charge them before they hit zero, the battery is fooled into thinking that whichever point it’s at is the new zero. Charge it when it’s only at 20% power, and it’s only going to put 80% in the next time you charge it. This is called the Memory Effect.
The new rechargeable coin cell batteries will operate at a huge range of temperatures, from -20°C to 60°C, meaning that they can be used in some of the hottest and coldest places on earth – great news for those in some of the more extreme parts of the world, such as scientists with battery powered data collection devices.
Designed to provide 3V of power, the battery can be recharged up to 500 times before it needs to be replaced, meaning that the purchaser will get great value for money and do the environment a big favour by not binning their exhausted coin batteries.
Keep your eyes out for this next big step in rechargeable battery technology, as it slowly starts to filter into the market.