Frequently Asked Questions

Following Q&A will teach you everything you wanted to know about batteries and how to optimize the usage.

1. Can I make my own battery?

Batteries are built by specialists. That should be obvious. But we still give a simple blueprint for your own battery. Of course, this battery does not deliver the same performance as the self-made products from well known manufacturers such as Panasonic Batteries.
 
What do you need?
  • Lemon juice or vinegar
  • Copper-containing coins such as 1 or 2 cent coins
  • Aluminum foil
  • Fixed Paper
  • Tape
  • Kitchen paper
  • Two power wires
How is it done?

Take from the solid paper tube into which fit the coins. (Fill in the coins is not a.) Bring a round piece of aluminum foil at one end and secure it with tape. Tear. Pieces of aluminum foil and shape from discs that have roughly the same size and shape as the coin Do the same with the paper towel. Dip this kitchen paper discs in the lemon juice or vinegar in the. Stack alternately in the tube a kitchen paper disc, a coin and an aluminum foil disc. The conclusion must form a coin. Strip the wires, so that you can attach the copper wire to the ends. Test the battery with a bicycle lamp.

2. How are batteries being recycled?

To recycle batteries they must be sorted beforehand to ensure, that they are separated into the different chemistries with a subsequent recycling and recovery of the metals and other recoverable materials.

Battery Industry has developed in the mid 90s a sorting technology to enable automatic and cost efficient sorting. Several automatic and semi-automatic sorting facilities are now operating in Europe.

  • Alkaline and Zinc-Carbon Batteries:
    Are reycled in metals industry and to recover steel, zinc, ferromanganese etc.
  • NiCd/NiMH batteries:
    Are recycled to recover the Cadmium and Nickel, with positive market value.
  • Li-Ion batteries:
    Are recycled to recover Cobalt with a positive market value.
  • Lead-Acid Batteries:
    Are recycled in Lead industry with positive market value.
  • Button Cells Silveroxide buttons:
    Have a positive market value due to silver containing button cells (Alkaline, Zinc-Air). They are recycled to recover the mercury.

Approximately 70% of the batteries collected are recycled today in an existing recycling market in Europe. This rate will increase over the next years.

3. How does a battery work?

When you switch on a device like a flashlight, the electric circuit completes and electric currents in the form of electrons power the bulb. That happens because the anode material, zinc (Zn) gives up two electrons (e-) per atom in a process called oxidation. This process leaves unstable zinc ions (Zn2+) behind. (An ion is an atom that has gained or lost electron(s) so it has a positive or negative charge.)

After the electrons do their stuff and power the light bulb, they re-enter the battery at the cathode. There they combine with the active material, manganese dioxide (MnO2), in a process called reduction.

The electrons from batteries always travel in 1 direction; from the negative electrode to wards the positive electrode; this is called DC (Direct Current).

Oxidation and reduction could not occur in a battery without a way to carry electrons back to the anode after they enter the cathode. Here's where the electrolyte comes in.

After each electron enters the cathode, it reacts with the manganese dioxide to form MnOO-. Then the MnOO- reacts with water in the electrolyte solution. The water splits to hydroxide ions (OH-) and hydrogen ions (H+) that combine with MnOO- to form MnOOH. The hydroxide ions flow to the anode in the form of an ionic current.

There, they combine with unstable zinc ions which had given up their electrons to power the light bulb. The reaction produces zinc oxide (ZnO) and water (H2O). This completes the circuit (which is necessary to have a constant flow of electricity) and powers your flashlight.

4. What does 'capacity' mean?

Inside the battery the chemical attraction between the positive and the negative electrode produces the electrons. The speed of electron production by this reaction (the battery's internal resistance) controls how many electrons can flow between the terminals.

The law of Ohm: Ampère = Volt/Ohm. Ohm discovered that a current that flows through a wire is proportional to its cross sectional area and inversely proportional to its length.

The choice of materials used and the construction of the battery will determine how many electrons can flow at the same time and if this battery is right to power a specific appliance and it's needs.

5. What is a battery?

A battery is generally a kind of “device” which transforms chemical energy into electrical energy. Most battery chemistries house 2 different main raw materials, where one tends to be the positive electrode and the other the negative electrode. These materials and the way they have been treated and processed define the final type and quality of the batteries.

Batteries can usually only supply energy for a specific period of time. After this period the chemical reaction comes to an end and the batteries can no longer be used.
In the case of rechargeable batteries, the chemical components are returned to their original state during the recharging process, so that the discharge can start again from the beginning.

The power of a battery is expressed in amperes and the voltage is expressed in volts.

The chemical composition of a battery determines its voltage and the quantity of material (the size of the battery) determines its power (expressed in Ampères).

The power of a battery is important when it comes to making an appliance work. This is because a sophisticated radio uses more energy than a simple travel alarm clock.
The more demanding the appliance, the more power it needs to work. This also explains why some appliances make more space for batteries than others. Several batteries working together can deliver more power.

6. What is the memory effect of a rechargeable battery?

The rechargeable Nickel-Cadmium batteries are suffering a so called 'memory loss'. When they are loaded before they are totally empy, they reload only partial.

With the result that this reduced capacity will become the maximum capacity of the battery.

7. Why, in some devices, are batteries lined up head to tail - while in others, they're placed side by side?

Power cells perform differently depending on the way they're connected. If they're lined up in a series head to tail, like in a flashlight, the voltage output increases.

When two 1.5 volt cells are connected head-to-tail, the voltage grows to 3.

In the case of the 9 volt battery it is a series of six 1.5 volt cells.