PowerGenix is my new hero.

I think this is my first product plug here.  It's completely unsolicited, and alas, I haven't received any freebies.  I do have some alterior motives, however, but those will become obvious as you read on.  The product I'm talking about is the their rechargeable AA batteries

If you think about what you pay for when you buy alkaline batteries, it doesn't come to much.  A typical cell will have maybe a 2 amp-hour capacity.  That's 7200 Coulombs of electricity, or 4.5 x1022 electrons.  That may sound like a lot, but it comes to about 40 micrograms of electrons in a package the weighs about 23 grams.  In other words, 99.9998% of that battery is packaging.  That's like chartering a 747 to deliver a latte. Or course you're not "using up" those electrons when you use the battery.  All you're really doing is exchanging the electrons at one end for some "waste" electrons you put in the other.

I'm always annoyed by retailers that use excess packaging, but they'll never top that level of waste.  It should come as no surprise that I've been trying to use rechargeable batteries for some time.  I say trying because for some inexplicable reason, battery manufacturers thought they could sell NiMH batteries, with a voltage of 1.2V as if they were equivalent to alkaline batteries at 1.5V.  For equally inexplicable reasons, electronic manufacturers have completely ignored the popularity of NiMH batteries, and persist in making electronics that can only really take advantage of alkaline batteries.  The NiMH just barely have enough voltage to drive the electronic when they are new and fully charged.  It only take a tiny drop for the camera (or TV remote, or what-have-you) to give up and shut down.  And of course, as batteries age, they're capacity goes down, and before long you find yourself just giving up and buying another pack of alkalines so you can get through the day. 

Then PowerGenix came along and changed my world.  Their chemistry provides a beefy 1.6V, more than the alkaline 1.5, but not so much more to cause a problem with most electronics.  I've heard that LED flashlights might suffer shortened life-spans, but so far that's the only case I know of.  In a nutshell, here are the pluses

  • They ACTUALLY WORK in all the electronics that alkalines work in
  • They last (in my experience) at least 10 times longer than NiMH in the same camera.  I bet the NiMH manufactures could show you much less embarrassing results, but mine are based on some real-world experiences including batteries that have been used a few times and/or are being used outside in freezing temperatures. 
  • They hold a charge.  NiMH will "self discharge" in a drawer.  So don't think you can charge up the NiMH batteries in a flashlight and expect it work when the lights go out six months later.  You can do that with the NiZn chemistry in the PowerGenix batteries.

So what's my secret agenda for this post?  There are actually two.  Firstly, PowerGenix is currently the only manufacturer of batteries of this chemistry.  I live in fear that they won't catch on and the company will drop them or go belly up.  You can bet that if I catch wind of this happening I'll be hoarding these batteries like a survivalist hoards spam. 

Secondly, I could really use some NiZn AAA batteries.  There are already AAA slots built into the charger.   I bet that PowerGenix is waiting to see how popular the AA batteries are before they role out the smaller ones. Let's try to convince them that it's worth the investment.