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Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Unveiled 270

mobilemag writes "Sion Power is showing off its new Lithium-Sulfur battery design this week at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC). SION believes that its new Lithium-Sulfur (Li-S) batteries are the answer to the power hungry devices on the market today."
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Lithium-Sulfur Batteries Unveiled

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  • Very nice. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by i_am_syco ( 694486 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @08:21PM (#9146277)
    What about heat? I know that isn't always a big deal with batteries, but if you've got a device like a laptop, it can become a huge issue. I can imagine these powering the PowerBook G6 or something.
  • Yeah right. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dark Lord Seth ( 584963 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @08:21PM (#9146279) Journal
    Li-S still has a long ways to go, only at half the current polymer electrolyte fuel cell technology runtimes and with a maximum of 300 recharge cycles. Polymer electrolyte fuel cells are planned for release as early as 2007, while Li-S is still 3-5 years away.

    Right, so much for 'news'. Call me when "still 3-5 years away" becomes "now available", then we'll give it a good look. As for fuel cells, they have been coming "Real Soon Now" (C) since... What? ... 2000 or so? Chances are we'll be stuck with Li-Ion batteries for quite a few years to come.

  • Light on details? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkelectric ( 546685 ) <> on Thursday May 13, 2004 @08:24PM (#9146301)
    It all comes down to how many mah (milliamp-hours) the battery can output, and the voltage/drain curve (not sure what the correct name for this is), and I don't see either of those things on this website. So until then, don't bother getting excited.
  • by Wraithlyn ( 133796 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @08:27PM (#9146329)
    It doesn't say anything about the cell sizes. (It does say "with a better power/weight ratio than anything on the market, Li-S could be easily packed into the tinniest devices"

    The thing that's so attractive to me about NiMH's is they come in standard AAA and AA sizes. I make sure all my electronics take those (instead of say Lithimum Ion, which is usually proprietary), and then I can run everything on the same "fleet" of batteries.

    I hope this tech follows suit. (I imagine it won't at first, but will eventually)
  • How about instead of making better batteries, we make it so the electronics don't use as much electricity?

    That's the approach that Apple takes. Their iBook line gets ~4 hours on a single charge. The problem is that they're bumping up against the lower limits of power consumption while still offering reasonable performance. If you want lower power consumption, you're going to have to give something up. That something is screen size, processor speed, hard disk, and memory.

    Personally, I'd like a little Pu-238 to power my laptop with. I figure that about 600 grams would power my laptop nonstop for ~40 years.

  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @08:35PM (#9146387)
    My laptop has a fan and blows out hot air.My ARM-based PDA at 400MHz is so cool you can't even tell that it is turned on.

    The major reason we need these ultra-fast and hot Pentiums in our machines is crap, inefficient software. Look at Longhorn: it wants 2G of RAM and a two CPUs.

    A friend of mine has a RiscOS box running a 100MHz ARM cpu. It is slicker than my Winshit PC with a 2GHz processor.

  • by JesseL ( 107722 ) * on Thursday May 13, 2004 @08:36PM (#9146391) Homepage Journal
    With the size, cost, and efficiency of buck/boost switching voltage regulators improving the way they are, I don't think that the discharge curve will be as critical as it used to be.
  • by Indian ( 17922 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @08:37PM (#9146396)
    Batteries are not used just in electronics. Just think of hybrid cars, pacemakers etc. Having a portable, high energy density power source benifits a lot more things than just "electronics".
  • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @09:07PM (#9146609) Homepage Journal
    Heavens yes games are the only thing we all care about. I mean it is not like anyone ever uses a computer to work.
    The point is that you do not really have to use XP or even an x86 CPU. Those programs could be compiled for other chips and OSs.
    Some day X86 is going to run out of steam.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2004 @09:08PM (#9146617)
    Can he run photoshop or some equivilent? Video editing? Cd-burning? How bout 3D renders? No? Can he load large spreadsheets without going grey haired?

    I'll trade you my 100MHz ARM CPU for your 2GHz processor.

    Heck here's a 486 running Linux, I'm sure you'll be fine using lynx, vim, and pine. Hey you said you wanted slick and fast.

    You're comparing a Laptop and a PDA. One has a large screen, harddrive, and powerful CPU. Check up a few posts on Apples hardware. You can make things only so efficent before you bump into a wall.
  • by HuguesT ( 84078 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @09:34PM (#9146822)
    You missed the 2V thing. Storage is energy, and so measured in Joules or Watt-hours, not mAh, (or if you want, mAh at a given voltage).

    Sulphur: 2*4.5 = 9 Wh
    NiMH : 1.25*5 = 6.25 Wh

    So sulphur is better, if not by that much.
  • by dylan.ucd ( 612417 ) on Thursday May 13, 2004 @11:35PM (#9147591)
    why have people forgotten about hardware/software efficiency? instead of using x86-based lap heaters, why not develop more low-power hardware around crusoe and or ppc-based processors.... ? my ppc laptop (500mhz G4) runs cool with no fan and accomplishes everything that a standard research student would be doing, plus many advanced modelling/GIS/rendering/image processing/ and map making functions... all with a 3hr+ battery time on 6 yr old Li-ion batteries...

    furthermore: stop writting/using bloated software!!! i can run my word processor/ of choice on a couple mb or ram, with the HD spun down for hours.... on a machines with less than 20mb of ram and a 33mhz processor... of course i use these same applications on more modern hardware.

    point is: efficient software/hardware can save much more power than these new batteries can provide. yeah, new batteries are great- but why does simple computing have to be so damn energy intensive???
  • by root_42 ( 103434 ) on Friday May 14, 2004 @02:54AM (#9148521) Homepage
    But you must not forget that plutonium is a heavy metal and toxic. Guess why we are proud to finally produce lead-free batteries, microchips and such? So disposal and processing of plutonium based products will be some nasty job. The radiation -- as you said -- is not that big of a problem, though inhalation of plutonium particles in almost the tiniest quantity will very likely lead to cancer, since plutonium is known to highly carcinogenic.
    This [] and other articles state that the toxicity of Pu is not that critical, since it will be immobilized in sediments or soil. But I do not fully trust this argument. Pu just like Pb is stored in living organism to some extent, and will probably accumulate in animals along the food chain. Maybe this is not a problem in the short term, like it was a problem with lead from car fuels, but probably in the mid to long term.

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