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Bringing used batteries back from the dead

United States – Batteroo has devised a new product that, it says, will revolutionise the battery industry. ‘All the batteries you used to throw away had only used 20% of their battery life,’ claims the Silicon Valley start-up. ‘Our stainless steel sleeve allows you to extend the life of your batteries up to eight times.’

Most new batteries contain 1.5 V of energy when first bought but most devices stop functioning at around the 1.3 V mark, Batteroo points out. Its ‘Batteriser’ sleeve uses micro-circuitry and is only 0.1 mm thick, and so fits conveniently into devices’ battery compartments.

‘We have tested the Batteriser in our lab and can confirm that it taps into the 80% of energy that is still trapped inside – energy that is usually thrown away,’ says Dr Kiumars Parvin of San José State University.

The new clip-on tool is suitable for AA, AAA, C and D battery variants and is designed to be reused multiple times. A pack of four sleeves will cost US$ 10 when it goes on sale this September.

The technology behind the voltage booster has been around for some time, observes Bob Roohparvar, one of the electrical engineers who invented the product. ‘The key is we’ve been able to miniaturise the boost circuit to a point that no-one else has been able to achieve,’ he adds.

This innovation could spell bad news for a world battery industry worth nearly US$ 90 billion. It also has the potential, say the researchers, to shrink the annual volume of battery waste in landfills by a factor of eight.

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