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Daily Debrief: A longer-lasting laptop battery?On the CNET News Daily Debrief, Charles Cooper speaks with ZPower's chief executive, Ross Dueber, who says his company's technology will enable battery life 40 percent longer than that of lithium ion batteries currently being used.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:04 >> If I'm going to make one prediction this year, it's that somewhere along the line your laptop battery will leave you stranded. But maybe, just maybe, there's help on the way. Welcome to the CNET News Daily Debrief. I'm Charlie Cooper here with ZPower CEO Ross Dueber. And Ross, your company has a new technology. You're over there this week at the Intel Developer Forum, and you claim it's a game changer. Tell us why. >> Well, Charlie, as we look at consumer electronics, there's always a need for a better battery technology, better energy storage. And the technology we're using today, lithium ion, of course, has got its limitations. >> And it's been around for -- what? Since the 1990s? >> Early 1990s when it first came out on the market with Sony. And as we look at now, here it is, you know, 17 years later; we still don't have a new technology. Certainly incremental improvements to it, but as we look at it, we have to really go to a new battery technology, a new chemistry in order to move to that next level. And my company, ZPower, wants to bring that technology to market next year. >> And you've brought some toys here. >> Certainly. >> This is the silver zinc rechargeable battery, 9.6 V. What's the difference between what this will do and what the current state of the art offers? >> Well, as we look at it, we're different in three key areas. One is we get improved performance over lithium ion technology. As much as a 40 percent longer run time in a single charge of use so that you can go longer untethered from the wall with your cord. Secondly, the technology is designed from the outset to be completely recyclable, reusable in terms of recovering the materials that are in there -- the silver, the zinc -- so that we can reuse those in future batteries. And then, the third issue, of course is the inherent safety of the technology in comparison to some of the issues that we've had with the flammability and explosion of lithium ion. Ours is a water-based technology, easily deployed and safely deployed. >> So no exploding laptops. >> That's correct. >> Can you talk a little bit about the IP? What's the technology behind this product? >> Well, the intellectual property behind it is really geared around making silver zinc a good, rechargeable battery for consumer electronics. It is a technology that has been used in aerospace and military applications for decades, very high energy density, small volume, small weight. What we have done is really package it and bring it down to the size necessary for consumer electronics. And we've also done a substantial amount of work in terms of improving it's longevity, its number of times it can be recharged, or cycled, in order to make it suitable for use in laptops, cell phones, to meet our expectations and needs of today. >> And if I'm a consumer, when will this new nirvana be accessible? When might I see a product on the market? >> The first product that we're scheduled to be released in is a new laptop coming out in 2009. So that will be the first time consumers will have access to the technology through this product. >> Can you talk about the manufacturer? >> I can't say who it is at this particular point. >> Here's your big opportunity. Come on. >> And that's my customer's announcement that I -- forget it. I can't steal their thunder. >> Let me just play devil's advocate before we close. If silver zinc is so wonderful, why has it taken this long for the industry to embrace it? >> Well, as you take a look at it, really, it was a technology primarily in military and aerospace, as I said previously. Really, the advent of consumer electronics has only come along in the last couple of decades in terms of the demand for much higher energy density battery technology. Lithium ion has been the incumbent. Large players, such as Sanyo, Sony, Panasonic are leaders in this industry. And they've made substantial investments in lithium ion. They'd like to continue to see that technology proliferate and be used in the market. We, on the other hand, don't have that burden of past technology. And so, as a start-up company, we want to bring this technology to market. We think that's the way innovation happens. It comes not from the established players, but from the new players in the industry. >> Okay. Very good. As a hard-core laptop user, I am very anxious to see what this actually does. Thanks Ross. >> Thanks [inaudible]. >> On behalf of Ross Dueber, I'm Charlie Cooper. ^M00:04:27 [ Music ]