Until recently, rechargeable batteries would loose their charge quicker than non-rechargeable batteries. If a rechargeable was used in low-power appliances, such as a kitchen wall-clock, it would discharge quicker than a non-rechargeable battery.
This gave little incentive to purchase rechargeable batteries for low power consumption appliances, because they would loose their power in weeks rather than months.
Now, based on a new biodegradeable chemical technology, the Uniross Hybrio range of rechargeable batteries will loose only 20% of their charge in a year. This makes the Hybrio suitable for all types of appliances, while still ideally suited to high-power consumption devices such as digital and video cameras.
“The Hybrio batteries are sold fully charged. This enables them to be used immediately after purchase. And Hybrio batteries can be recharged up to 1000 times, providing a significant cost saving over disposable batteries,” says Uniross marketing manager Michael Rogers.
Cost savings to the consumer are significant. For example, a pack of four AAA disposable batteries costs around R24.00. A basic rechargeable pack comprising a standard charger and four AAA rechargeable batteries costs around R125.00.
Since the four rechargeable batteries last the same amount of time as 1 000 disposable batteries, the saving to the user is R5 875.00 over the life of the batteries.
Rechargeable batteries also provide significant benefits in terms of the consumption of natural resources, global warming, ozone pollution, air acidification and water pollution.
Research conducted by Bio Intelligence Service in Germany shows that for 1kWh (kilowatt per hour) of energy produced, rechargeable batteries have 23 times less potential impact on non-renewable natural resources.
This means that rechargeable batteries consume up to 23 times less non-renewable natural resources (fossil and mineral) than disposable batteries. To provide the same amount of energy, more disposable batteries are also needed than rechargeable batteries. This implies greater consumption of natural resources.
Climate change means an increase in the average temperature of the earth’s surface caused by an increase in the greenhouse gas effect. Rechargeable batteries have up to 28 times less impact on climate warming than disposable batteries. This ratio can be explained by the impact of manufacturing disposable batteries and their distribution by in truck and the related greenhouse gas emissions.
Photochemical oxidation is responsible for peaks of ozone and emissions of compounds toxic to man. Rechargeable batteries have up to 30 times less impact on ozone pollution than disposable batteries.
The air acidification indicator consists in the accumulation of acidifying substances in atmosphere particules. Deposited in ecosystems by rain, they have a strong impact on soil and ecosystems. Rechargeable batteries have up to nine times less impact on air acidification than disposable batteries.
The sedimentary ecotoxicity indicator evaluates potential toxic risks due to the emission of chemicals into aquatic ecosystems. Rechargeable batteries have up to 12 times less potential toxic risks for fresh water and sea water sediments.
Rechargeable batteries produce less waste in terms packaging such as plastic and paper. To obtain 1kWh of energy, one pack of rechargeable batteries is enough whereas it takes 93 packs of disposable batteries.
Overall, fewer batteries need to be recycled, benefiting the environment significantly.