Bringing a little cheer to energy innovation

Following the close of a year which saw the politicization of clean energy technologies, the struggles of dozens of solar manufacturers and electric car companies, and a “cleantech cliff” for startup investing, the 2013 ARPA-E Summit could be a sober affair.

On my want list: Mophie Juice Pack Helium

Most external battery packs are big and bulky and unattractive. Mophie has come up a thinner snap-on battery pack, Helium, that adds about six hours of extra Internet time to my iPhone 5. No wonder it is on my want list.

The most important chart in energy

The modern centralized method of energy generation and distribution is inherently inefficient, and that state is embodied by a little known chart. It’s also this chart which could show just how efficient the energy grid could be with distributed energy storage and technology.


Opportunities in next-generation battery technologies

Without electricity, today’s connected and mobile lifestyle for individuals and communities would be radically different. Countless consumer electronics, the internet, electrified transportation, and other emerging technologies demand electricity. To meet product demands along with consumer demands for mobility, freedom of information, and freedom of action, storing electricity is increasingly important.

Battery startups join forces: Contour acquires ActaCell

Two battery startups join forces on the long road of next-generation battery manufacturing. Contour Energy Systems, which makes fluorine-based batteries, has acquired Actacell and its lithium ion battery material tech. ActaCell will operate as a subsidiary under Contour Energy Systems.

The battery performance deficit disorder

Batteries fall pathetically short of our customary fossil fuel energy storage medium. When we wake up to a declining global availability of petroleum, we won’t just switch over to electric cars.

Quantance starts shipping battery-boosting LTE chip

Quantance’s LTE power boosting technology is now out of the labs and on its way to device manufacturers. It has begun shipping samples of its qBoost chips to handset makers and radio silicon vendors, but most significantly it claims to have landed its first customer.

How much energy does it take to power those iPads?

The growing number of devices in our daily lives means that we are consuming more and more electricity. This is something that worries lots of people, including me. A new study from a Palo Alto-based not-for-profit group takes a look at thte iPad’s energy consumption habits.

Why the lithium air battery is over hyped

IBM has made a lot of noise about its lithium air battery, which it says can hold as much energy in a given volume as gasoline can. But General Motors isn’t all that convinced that lithium air battery technology is worth the investment.


Why tomorrow’s iPad will need a battery breakthrough

The single biggest constraint for mobile devices today is batteries, and this includes the new iPad. If Apple wants to keep delivering cutting-edge improvements to its always-on, lightweight tablet, it needs to know the stakes in the looming battery race, and how to break through them.

Mobile battery life improves, but not how you’d think

Battery life: It’s the bane of a mobile device, second only to spotty mobile broadband coverage in terms of annoyances. We’ve seen promising battery technology, but no major advances just yet. However, we can do so much more with our devices on a single charge.

Why the world needs flow batteries

Here’s what you need to know about flow batteries: how they work, what innovation is happening in the market, who buys these batteries, and what are the benefits?

CES Video: Moto’s Droid Razr Maxx with 21-hour runtime

During my CES show floor travels, I swung by Motorola’s booth and see the Droid Razr Max. Why? Because battery technology hasn’t changed much and Moto claims a 21-hour runtime for it’s latest Android smartphone. But it’s still only 8.99 millimeters in thickness!

Opportunities for the future of batteries

There are hundreds of startups, massive battery conglomerates and university labs that are trying to push the battery envelope and create as much power at the lowest cost for these little energy storage devices. Here’s some details from my GigaOM Pro report.

iDAPT i4 review: A unique charger that’s ready for anything

If your work area is anything like mine, you have an assortment of power bricks and USB cords cluttering things up. The iDAPT i4 solves the charging dillema by creating a universal and interchangeable charging station, using swappable tips to cover the gamut of mobile devices.

Future gadget batteries could last 10 times longer

Batteries continue to be the bane of mobile devices, but research done at Northwestern University could change that, with longer-lasting batteries that charge in minutes, not hours. Imagine a battery that lasts 10 times longer than today’s power packs with a 15-minute recharge time!

Next-gen battery startup Seeo raises $15M

A next-gen, lithium-ion battery startup — backed by Vinod Khosla’s Khosla Ventures — called Seeo has raised another $15 million from investors, according to a filing. Khosla Partner Pierre Lamond is listed on this latest filing, and Seeo previously raised at least $10.6 million.

How a Fraction of a Battery Can Cripple iPod Production

There could be a delay in iPod production as a result of the closure of a polymer factory, owned by Kureha, near the Japanese earthquake’s epicenter. The polymer is a tiny but important part of lithium ion batteries and Kureha dominates that market. Here’s why:

How Plug-In Hybrid Cars Could Be Game Changers

With my daily commute, Nissan’s all-electric LEAF car isn’t a good fit for me, but GM’s extended range electric car the Volt isn’t exactly an inexpensive car. Here’s how the economics work out and why a plug-in hybrid car could be a real game changer.

Contour’s New Battery Niche: 3D TV Glasses

Contour Energy Systems has launched an opportunistic attack on a niche consumer market right in time for Christmas. The Caltech battery spinout formerly known as CFX Battery announced a line of disposable coin cell batteries specifically engineered to make 3-D TV glasses last longer than competitors.

Video: Elbow Grease & Sheer Joy Charges New Smartphones

What happens when a hardware modder finds spare parts in his shop? He cobbles together an old-fashioned, hand-crank method to charge one of the latest and greatest 4G smartphones, of course. It’s not the low-tech solution that makes this video entertaining, it’s definitely the cackling joy.

Video: Elbow Grease & Sheer Joy Charges New Smartphones

What happens when a hardware modder finds spare parts in his shop? He cobbles together an old-fashioned, hand-crank method to charge one of the latest and greatest 4G smartphones, of course. It’s not the low-tech solution that makes this video entertaining, it’s definitely the cackling joy.

Apple’s Batteries Over-Hyped

The Apple Battery Charger caught me as a product that made perfect sense. But what rubs me the wrong way is that it decided to sell batteries for these devices with a few claims that make its product better than any other.

Apple’s New Battery Charger

At a cost of $29, which includes six reusable AA batteries, this little white charger offers you the chance to power all of your wireless desktop accessories with a clean conscience knowleding you’re doing your part to help the environment.

iPad Battery Replacement Program

Though some critics like to vilify Apple (s aapl) for its practice of building devices with inaccessible batteries, the benefits definitely outweigh…

Three Handy Accessories for Your iPhone

America has a new president, so it’s only fitting that you should have new accessories for you iPhone, right? Today we’ve got…

8 Hours of Talk Time for iPhone

Apple has already upgraded its yet-unreleased iPhone. They announced this morning a battery capable of 8 hours of talk time, and over…