Springlike Battery Design Could Double Cell Life

All batteries, even rechargeable ones, will eventually die. And recycling batteries still requires an extra effort that not all people are willing to make. As a result, thousands of batteries end up in landfills around the world, and it only takes one D-sized battery to permanently contaminate 35 cubic feet of soil.

The real tragedy is that most of these batteries are tossed before they’re really dead. That’s why a creative group of young designers devised the next generation battery: a flexible chemical element that would allow two half-dead batteries to fit in the space of one.

ONE=TWO Spring Battery

image via One=Two/Red Dot

The concept, which recently won a Red Dot design award, was created by Huang Kun, Meng Xun, He Ting and Liu Yuan, all of whom were tired of people tossing batteries in the trash can with plenty of juice left inside. Called the “One=Two,” the battery design borrows its shape and function from a traditional mechanical spring.

“Its volume can be compressed so that when it is running low, two batteries can be used as one. This allows a more thorough use of the energy remaining in the two batteries, and lengthens their lifespan,” write the designers.

ONE=TWO Battery

Image via ONE=TWO/Red Dot

The One=Two could be manufactured to occupy the same physical space as any traditional battery, from AAA to D. When fully decompressed, it would resemble a single battery, with the same + and – elements on each end. But as the power decreases, several One=Two batteries could be compressed to fit into a single battery spot. This would allow the batteries to be used well past the half or three-quarter power mark, when normal batteries might be tossed because they had become too weak.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • Aaron Fown

      This would only work in devices that can work on a range of voltages, because I doubt this could produce consistent voltage. That is to say, not many devices; many can even be damaged by inconsistent voltage. I would say their team has too much designer, too little engineer. . .

    • Alex S

      I hate to be mean about it but this is kinda dumb – rechargeable batteries already solve (very well) the problems that this was trying to solve… and aside from that, i doubt that the severely reduced volume of this spring battery would be anywhere near the capacity of a regular battery unless you use cost-prohibitive or even more poisonous materials.