Infinite Power Solutions (IPS) of Littleton, Colorado has announced that its thin film rechargeable batteries are now capable of 75,000 deep discharge cycles. Most rechargeable batteries are capable only of 300 to 1000 deep discharge cycles and need to be replaced thereafter. This breakthrough could signal the hope for rechargeable batteries that can last the life time of the device into which they are fitted. Previously, IPS had claimed a life of 10,000 deep discharge cycles.
IPS thin film batteries, branded Thinergy (for Thin Energy) use lithium ion battery technology, which is also used in most portable electronic batteries including cell phones, quartz watches and even electric vehicles. On average, each American discards 8 rechargeable batteries a year which ends up as a heavy metal pollutant in landfills. IPS claims that it is able to achieve superior life cycle performance by its unique battery architecture, solid electrolyte and controlled manufacturing processes. These parameters can surely be applied in the manufacture of other lithium ion rechargeable batteries.
The IPS battery technology
The IPS thin film batteries are unique in their extremely thin form factor. The batteries are only 0.17 mm thick, about the thickness of a postage stamp. This thin form factor permits these batteries to be built into flat components like RFID tags and smart cards. These are also being built into implanted medical devices and wireless remote sensors.
Thinergy batteries can be trickle charged at constant voltage without the need for the current limiter circuitry needed in other rechargeable batteries. The recharging takes no more than 15 minutes, even for a fully discharged battery. These batteries also do not exhibit the so-called “memory effect” where frequent recharging reduces the storage capacity of the battery. Thinergy batteries can be recharged from a variety of energy sources depending on the application. These include solar cells, kinetic charging from motion or vibration or even from stray RF fields.
The IPS life cycle claim has been independently validated by a professor at the Carnegie Mellon University, who confirms that this represents an important breakthrough in rechargeable battery life. IPS will exhibit this technology at the upcoming expo at Berlin between May 15 and 18, 2012.
Thin film batteries cannot yet be used for other devices
The IPS batteries have an energy capacity of only around 100 mAH ( milli Ampere Hours) and are not currently capable of generating the larger power needed for cell phones, tablet computers or music players. The cost is also very high, justifying its use only in specialized applications where lower cost batteries cannot be used due to size.