A simple metallic sleeve tightly embracing a conventional AAA battery claims to extend the useful life of the power source eight times.
Developed by California-based start-up Batteroo, a 1mm-thin curved sheet of stainless steel - dubbed the Batteriser by its inventors - harnesses what can be up to 80 per cent of the energy left in a battery after its voltage drops below that required by most gadgets.
“When we get a new battery it is 1.5 volts,” explains Kiumars Parvin, Professor of Physics at San Jose State University. “When we use it in a device it goes down to 1.3 volts under load condition, at that point we consider it to be dead and throw it away.”
With a little tinkering, the remaining juice could be put to work, instead of immediately discarding the battery. The Batteriser’s inventors believe the device could considerably reduce waste. According to estimates, about 15bn disposable batteries are used and discarded every year around the world.
“Batteroo is the first to unleash existing unused power from a seemingly powerless battery,” said Bob Roohparvar, founder of Batteroo Corporation.
“Why throw away perfectly good batteries, or waste money buying new batteries, when we now have a technology that saves money, saves energy, and can cut the number of batteries that end up in landfills by more than half?”
Rooparvhar credits the innovation to an intelligent voltage management and delivery mechanism. Batteroo introduces this system in the format of a sleeve that makes contact with the positive and negative ends of a common battery to access untapped remaining energy at a steady state system voltage.
The $14bn disposable battery market is estimated to be powering 5.4 billion battery-operated devices. Only approximately two per cent of the batteries are disposed of properly. The rest are thrown away, leading to soil contamination and many negative environmental impacts.
Rooparvhar plans an Indiegogo campaign in June 2015, aiming for delivery in late September. The device will be available for AA, AAA, C and D-cell batteries, selling for $10.00 for a pack of four.