The mPhase Interview: A 20-Year Battery Shelf Life Explained

A company which recently surfaced on our green tech radar was mPhase Technologies, developers of a flashlight which sports a 20 year reserve battery shelf life. This product, the mPower Emergency Illuminator, also drew notice with the Consumer Electronics Association. This trade group awarded the product a special ““Design and Engineering Awards Honoree” position for the upcoming 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. We caught up with Ron Durando, CEO of mPhase Technologies, over email to chat with him about his company and its long lasting battery life development.

EarthTechling: Tell us a little about mPhase. What exactly does your company do?

Ron Durando: mPhase Technologies is focused on developing and commercializing a new battery technology based on a well-patented phenomenon known as electrowetting, which provides a unique way to store energy and manage power that will revolutionize the battery industry. The consumer products division of mPhase, mPower Technologies, is preparing to launch the first ever product (mPower Emergency Illuminator) to utilize the battery technology developed by mPhase Technologies.

mPhase is still concentrated on advancing the technology even further. The company was awarded a Phase II STTR Grant from the U.S. Army for the amount of $750,000 to develop the Smart NanoBattery which is a programmable, multiple cell battery with a potentially infinite shelf life. Within the next 9 to 12 months, the company expects to have a prototype version of this highly advanced battery.

image via mPhase Technologies

image via mPhase Technologies

ET: The mPower Emergency Illuminator flash light is generating some buzz right now around its reported 20 year shelf life. Please talk about the technology behind how this light’s battery can last so long.

Durando: The Smart NanoBattery was the inspiration for the mPower Emergency Illuminator. mPhase wanted to create a product that showcased the battery technology in a consumer application. The shelf life of the mPower On Command Reserve battery is one of the features that really makes the product unique.

Traditional batteries have expiration dates because the chemicals are immediately combined when the battery is manufactured. The mPower On Command Battery eliminates power dissipation and corrosion seen in traditional batteries by keeping the chemicals separate until power is needed.

ET: How does one make use of the this extended life battery technology?

Durando: To activate the reserve battery for its initial use, the user simply twists the triggering mechanism until a “snap” is heard. This is the breaking of a barrier inside the battery that allows the liquid electrolyte to flush into the electrode cavity, providing immediate power.

Until activated, the mPower On Command Reserve Battery has a minimum shelf life of 20 years, meaning that the battery is not losing any of its power capabilities during that time.

ET: What future products can we expect to see mPhase battery technology in?

Durando: mPower Technologies will look to build off of the success of this initial product launch to create a full line of products that utilize the unique reserve battery technology that was developed by mPhase Technologies. The utility of the technology lends itself very well to police, fire, military, and other emergency applications. Future products will be better suited to address the needs of these various consumer groups.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.