New Consumer Primary Battery Chemistry Introduced after a 40-year Dryspell

Published: 29 Jul 2005

By Sara M Bradford, Research Manager

For decades, alkaline and carbon zinc batteries have been the most cost effective primary (disposable) battery system available to consumers. These batteries can power many devices, ranging from toys, to cameras, to PDA devices and digital cameras. The power requirement demands are expansive, as devices can range from low to high power drain. Even with this large range, the alkaline battery could handle all power levels. Carbon zinc is the preferred primary battery in developing countries as it is more cost efficient than alkaline and is used in proliferation for many types of portable devices still to this day.Alkaline

Typically, an alkaline battery has a zinc anode and a manganese dioxide cathode. The electrolytes used in the alkaline batteries are either potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. The battery is characterized as having a good energy density, especially when used at low and moderate rates. It is one of the oldest batteries still in use. It was introduced in 1959 as a successor to carbon zinc batteries. In comparison with carbon zinc, primary alkaline batteries offer higher energy density and reliability at an optimal cost.

The alkaline battery technology has had few groundbreaking product innovations. However, over the years the market has witnessed many evolutionary changes through product enhancements such as improving on its durability, compatibility, form-factor, and overall appearance. For instance, Energizer has recently developed a new line of batteries called e2 Titanium technology, specifically designed for high drain applications. Their proprietary titanium compound and advanced cell construction offers longer life cycles and is more suitable for those devices requiring high amounts of energy. Additionally, Duracell has launched the alkaline prismatic battery. With the introduction of the prismatic batteries, Duracell has provided manufacturers with an opportunity to design newer, thinner digital cameras and digital audio devices that run on primary power. Additionally, it offers the OEMs an alternative to more expensive rechargeable batteries.

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