A Smartphone’s Departure Puts New Focus on Batteries


By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – January 5, 2017 was the last day many owners of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone were able to use their devices. As widely reported, the phone is under a worldwide recall after many overheated and caused fires. On January 5, Verizon and AT&T rolled out a software update to prevent the phone from recharging or connecting to cellular networks. Users who chose to keep them were warned the device’s battery could fail and catch fire, CBS News reported.

According to CBS News, a defect caused the smartphone’s Li-ion battery to overheat—and in some cases burst into flames—resulting in at least 13 reports of burns and 47 reports of property damage. Samsung says more than 93 percent of the Note 7’s under recall have been turned in and the Consumer Product Safety Commission says consumers should stop using the devices immediately.

“This episode has turned a spotlight on the limitations of traditional Li-ion battery technology and is spurring interest in high-tech alternatives that are currently under development,” says Stephen Voller, founder and CEO of ZapGo Ltd (with a U.S. subsidiary, ZapGo Inc.). “We believe that within five years, Li-ion based batteries will be completely banned in hand luggage on airlines, and considered far too dangerous for consumer products.”

Zap&Go’s Carbon-Ion™ or C-Ion™ cell is being developed as the first to combine the fast-charging characteristics of a supercapacitor and—within a few years—is anticipated to match the energy density or storage capacity of Li-ion, while also being safe and recyclable. Unlike Li-ion, which is a battery and works by an electrochemical reaction, the Zap&Go C-Ion cells—which are made up of carbon, aluminum and water-based aqueous materials—can last through more charge/discharge cycles because there is no electrochemistry to wear out. One of the most dramatic advantages to this technology is that C-Ion cells can be fully charged in less than five minutes, in contrast to the hours it can take to fully charge a Li-ion cell. They also last much longer, experiencing none of the memory effect of Li-ion cells.

However, the greatest advantage of C-Ion over Li-ion is they do not catch fire.

Zap&Go is initially being targeted for use during late 2017 in commercialized products—such as cordless power tools, robotic cleaners and electric bikes—that require relatively low energy density and have relatively higher battery storage capacity. These functioning products were demonstrated at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). By 2020, the company envisions the technology as being practical for use in smartphones themselves. Beyond that horizon, they may find utility in vehicles as a hybrid solution with Li-ion.

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