Consumers will now have more chances to see if the battery is on the verge of a zinc revolution.
PowerGenix, which produces nickel-zinc based AA rechargeable batteries, has begun to sell its batteries and chargers on Amazon.com, GreenBatteries and EcoDepot.com. The company has been selling its batteries at Ritz Camera centers under a Ritz brand (the Quantaray Super Z!), but Ritz is currently under reorganization.
The batteries – which cost $14.99 for a four-pack or $34.99 with a charger – can provide a more long-lasting charge to cameras and other consumer devices, according to Dan Squiller, PowerGenix CEO.
"You can get two to four times as many shots [with a camera] and they recharge quicker," he said.
The tricky part about getting to market has been getting the batteries to endure repeated recharge cycles. Thomas Edison tinkered with zinc batteries but, like many others, found that performance degraded quickly. See the video here.
"Nickel zinc has been referred to as the 100-year-old problem," said Squiller, adding that PowerGenix has fixed that issue.
Right now, the company is targeting the cell battery market. Other new battery companies such as Zpower (silver zinc) and Boston-Power (fancy lithium ion) have targeted notebooks while Imara has focused on power tools. While those are lucrative markets, the qualification, testing and sales cycles are long, or at least longer than the cell market.
Ultimately, PowerGenix will try to manufacture nickel zinc batteries for large, established battery makers under their names. Discussions are underway.
Next up for PowerGenix may be AAA batteries. A cell manufacturer has approached the company about making AAA batteries for a cell phone. In phones, nickel zinc would offer a similar performance to lithium-ion batteries but at a lower cost, he said. Plus, the phone would run on standard shaped batteries.
Other zinc battery makers include PowerAir and ReVolt Technologies and some scientists believe that zinc could become a medium for mass power storage at utilities.
Learn how to differentiate your company through greener product lines at Greening the Supply Chain on September 17 in Boston.