Most of our posts have looked at why we need to recycle our used batteries. But limiting e-waste is not just about proper disposal. It’s also about minimising how many batteries we use.
The obvious answer? Rechargeables! These not only last longer, but can be used multiple times and cost less in the long run. There are also many cheap usb powered lights available, some costing as little at $3. But, in recent years many new technologies and innovations are popping up.
I thought I’d start with a fun one. A toy car that runs on sugar! This child’s toy runs on stuff kids love, but probably shouldn’t have too much of… soft drink! It’s developed by TOMY ENE Pocket and SONY, and it gives the perfect opportunity to trial this ‘bio-battery’. Speed and distance vary depending on what liquid is used, but apparently grape juice works best. There are also other bio-battery powered toys and devices in development including fans and hand-powered generators for lights.
This year a 15 year old girl from British Columbia invented a flashlight powered by the human hand. (Read and watch here) It uses thermal energy transferred through a human’s skin to the base of the torch which heats tiles inside a the tube. While it doesn’t create a very bright light, I think it suggests there is an untapped source of power within us all!
Fluidic Energy on behalf of Arizona State University has developed a zinc-air battery. Metal-air batteries have been around for about 100 years but have never been able to recharge. It uses ionic liquids (low temperature liquid salts) rather than water based electrolytes and reportedly has 11x the energy density than the best lithium-ion batteries. Designed to replace diesel gensets and lead-acid batteries, it is completely sustainable and contains no cadmium, mercury or fossil fuels making it one of the least toxic large-scale options available to industry.
I’m wondering whether any of our readers have stumbled upon any exciting new alternatives to battery power? Let us know in the comment section below. Or ask any questions you want answered in one of our post!