Water-Activated BatteryA brief item crossed news wires Tuesday announcing a Japanese company’s invention of water-powered batteries. The company, Total System Conductors (TSC), says the batteries are as powerful as everyday batteries currently in use and will offer a cheaper alternative to what’s on the market. Plus, they have an unlimited shelf life, unlike common batteries which lose up to 25 percent of their charge per year when stored unused. You could stow a battery in an emergency kit today and use it 50 years from now without consequence. To read the Reuters brief and watch the video of TSC’s president Susumu Suzuki talking about the invention and demonstrating its use, click here .
But are water-powered batteries really new? While researching this article, I ran across a company called Magnevolt Inc., based in Clayton, NC, that has apparently sold water-powered batteries to the government for years. Their web site says the generation of the company came about specifically to supply these products to the United States armed services. A check on a web site called www.governmentcontractswon.com confirms that Mangnevolt secured at least three Department of Defense contracts in the last four years. However, it’s unclear whether or not the technology is the same as TSC’s.
Additionally, water-powered batteries produced some buzz in late 2003 when the University of Alberta’s engineering department announced they were close to utilizing pressurized water to generate an electric current that could be used in batteries. Their application wasn’t limited to batteries, but spanned a wide array of electrical possibilities, offering an environmental alternative to solar power.
Regardless of how new the water-powered battery is, it’s clear TSC wants to make the technology available to the wider public where it’s been limited to the military and other government organizations in the past. If TSC provides a cheaper battery of the same quality that exists, a longer shelf life, and proves it to be an environmentally friendly substitute, that adds up to a marketable combination.
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