Hitachi to Offer Improved Lithium Ion Battery

The Japanese electronics maker plans to swap the graphite used in the electrodes of today's batteries with a silicon alloy, increasing capacity by 20%.

Published: 04-Aug-2008

Hitachi is developing a new generation of lithium-ion battery packs that should significantly extend the running time of portable devices without requiring a radical breakthrough in technology, the company said when discussing its financial results. The Japanese electronics maker plans to swap the graphite used in the electrodes of today's batteries with a silicon alloy material that would increase the effective capacity of a battery by 20 percent without making additional changes.

It also has a lower expansion coefficient that potentially reduces the susceptibility of the battery to overheating and triggering the battery fires that prompted a global recall by Sony in 2007.

The company also plans to use a different alloy for the positive electrode, made of cobalt, magnesium and nickel, that would also improve capacity by an unspecified amount. It would also reduce the dependence on potentially costly cobalt, which makes up the bulk of the electrode in today's batteries, Hitachi says.

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