Sony Introduces A “Green” Mercury-Free Mini Alkaline Battery

Sony has introduced five new Mercury-Free (0%) Mini Alkaline battery models set to debut around August, which are “green” power alternatives for consumers to use in a range of everyday applications, such as watches, calculators, toys and portable game consoles, without any compromise in performance and safety. In general, when Mercury is not disposed properly, it can infiltrate the food chain. Mercury has therefore been identified as a material that has the potential to cause serious damage to the human body and environment.

“Sony believes that it has a part to play in building a greener world, which is why we invested in innovative technologies that would benefit the environment and our consumers,” says Mr. Henry (Hakuyu) Yoh, Director, Recording Media and Energy Center, Sony Electronics Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. “The 0% Mercury Mini Alkaline battery is environmentally friendly to produce and use, without diminishing performance. The invention of 0% Mercury Mini Alkaline battery now completes Sony’s 0% Mercury micro battery line-up of Mini Alkaline, Silver Oxide and Mini Lithium batteries.”

The new 0% Mercury Mini Alkaline battery leverages on Sony’s more than 30 years of micro battery technology expertise and the world’s first 0% Mercury Silver Oxide battery technology introduced in 2005.

Today, Sony sells approximately 300 million Silver Oxide and Mini Alkaline batteries worldwide annually. With the introduction of the 0% Mercury Mini Alkaline batteries and existing 0% Mercury Silver Oxide batteries, Sony estimates the reduction of Mercury usage by 470kg annually.

Sony will continue to pursue innovative technologies that will contribute to the environment.

How it works

Mini Alkaline batteries use Zinc for the anode, manganese dioxide as the cathode, and an alkaline electrolyte. Zinc, used as the activator in the anode, corrodes when dissolved in alkaline solution. Zinc also causes electrolysis in the electrolyte, generating hydrogen gas which causes increased inner pressure and expansion of the battery cell. For these reasons, Mercury, which is effective in suppressing Zinc corrosion, had been added to the battery.

Block System 1: 3 Key Technologies to Restrain Hydrogen Gas Emission

1. Zinc-alloy powder is included as an active ingredient with improved resistance to corrosion.
2. Addition of anti-corrosion material into the anode material to prevent generation of hydrogen gas.
3. Anti-corrosion material is extended to the surface collector material to prevent leakage.

Block System 2: Invention of New Hydrogen Gas Absorbent

The cathode material used in conventional Mini Alkaline batteries was known for having a low rate of hydrogen gas absorption compared to Silver Oxide batteries. In order to prevent hydrogen gas causing battery expansion, Sony has invented the new hydrogen gas absorbent to the cathode material of Mini Alkaline battery, enhancing the unique hydrogen gas evaporation block system of 0% Mercury Silver Oxide battery.

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