How Mini Power’s cardboard batteries could be good for your mobile device as well as the planet.
Could cardboard batteries cut out the cadmium? If Tsung Chih-Hsien’s batteries become a success, this could strike a blow for NiMH, alkaline, and NiCad batteries (Watch Out, Duracell…!). Image by PreenutPN (via Shutterstock).
Imagine yourself a few years from now. You have left your ‘phone charger at home but have an important date to fulfil at the Stock Dove. Slowly but surely, your battery power reaches the cursed 15% mark. Panic. No battery power for you. Then, a stroke of luck: we find out about these new-fangled cardboard batteries they were selling at the Co-op (the one that used to be Somerfield). You pop in and find they come in handy 2, 4 and 6-hour versions. Your important date has been saved.
In 2014, Tsung Chih-Hsien developed The Mini Power. Unlike mobile phone power packs (usually made of plastic and connected to the Micro USB port), his power packs are made of cardboard. His cardboard batteries will come in two, four, and six-hour versions. The size of each ‘pill’ will vary according to the amount of hours they allow. The smallest one, for two hours, will be roughly the same size as a throat pastille. The largest one, for six hours of power, almost the entire width of a smartphone.
In the same way you can nip to your convenience store or supermarket for a pack of AAs, Mr. Chih-Hsien likes to see same apply to his cardboard batteries. At present, you can dispose of any bog-standard batteries at any local shop where recycling facilities are available. The purchasing model that he envisages is as follows:
He or she runs out of battery power on his or her mobile device;
They place a cardboard battery into the Lightning or Micro-USB port of their device. He or she might have bought them in advance, or nipped to their closest supermarket for one of the Mini Power cardboard batteries;
He or she either gets two hours, four hours or six hours of power for their device;
Once The Mini Power ‘pill’ has been used up, he or she could place another one into the charging port or charge their device with the manufacturer’s own mains charger;
Instead of disposing of their used Mini Power batteries (which you cannot do with conventional batteries nowadays), they return them to a convenience store or supermarket, where they get recharged.
The outer case of the battery is made of cardboard. This covers the tiny cell and the Micro-USB or Lightning connector (which is why Mr. Chih-Hsien insists on returning them to your nearest shop). The use of a cardboard casing is better for recycling than the metals used on a standard set of AA batteries. Could cardboard batteries find a use in the kitchen clock? We hope that Tsung’s project not only gets off the ground. We hope it sets an exciting precedent, even with standard batteries.