What makes a computer battery green? According to Boston Power, green means developing a battery which consistently delivers power after every recharge for at least three years. The green reasoning is the user would be less inclined to replace the old one whose power time dwindles after repeated charges.
“With most batteries, you get four hours. A few months later, it’s two hours and then later it’s one hour,” says Boston Power founder and CEO Dr. Christina Lampe-Onnerud.
“The biggest disappointment with notebook computers is battery life and performance,” she contends.
After “exhaustive” testing, Hewlett-Packard (H-P) has agreed to resell the Sonata as an upgrade option in select consumer notebooks starting in early 2009.
“It does not come standard with any notebook,” an H-P spokesman said. Consumers will be able to build them as replacements or specify them as an upgrade in a new computer for a $20-$30 premium over conventional replacement batteries which average $100-$150, the HP spokesman said.
Lampe-Onnerud explains how Sonata squeezes more performance out of the batteries this way: “Think of a battery as a chemical factory. In conventional batteries, there are many processes and they compete. We have one process.” She also says the Sonata is very low impedance which generates wasted energy in the form of heat. Check out the data sheet.
The Sonata batteries contain no heavy metals such as lead. I removed the GG386 lithium ion battery in my Dell D430 notebook to see what it contained, but the contents are not listed. The back of the battery warns again explosion and bears a dizzying number of recycling and other symbols meaningless to all but the greenest of users.
Indeed, Boston Power has several “ecolabel” and other sustainability certifications. They must mean something given that H-P now thinks it can charge a green premium for them to environmentally sensitive customers. Presently, the Sonata batteries are made in Taiwan.
Boston Power is also constructing a manufacturing plant in China. My GG386 was “make in Korea (usually the cells) ” and “assembled in China.” It’ll be tossed out eventually in the U.S.