Although HP and others are breaking new ground in notebook battery life, there are times when you might find yourself away from the grid for a bit longer than your laptop battery can last. A mobile energy storage unit like Yill, from Germany's Younicos, is said to be capable of autonomously meeting the power needs of a computer workstation for between two and three days on a single charge of its own quick-charge batteries. Deployment of the drum-like power houses throughout an office could even help save energy bills.

There are numerous reasons why you might consider using something like Yill. You may find yourself having to work for a few days in a remote location where a stable supply of power cannot be guaranteed. You might generate your own electricity from renewable resources, such as photovoltaic panels, and want to spend more time completely off-grid, even during days without sunshine. As a designer, you might want to minimize heat loss in a new office by eliminating the elevated floors or suspended ceilings usually needed for extensive cabling.

The standalone power storage unit is said to be capable of meeting the energy needs of a small mobile office for two to three days before its own rechargeable lithium titanium battery needs some juice. The battery pack benefits from quick recharge times (about four hours) and a long operating life. Yill can supply devices with up to 300 Watts of electricity, and stores about 1 kWh of energy.

Younicos says that when Yill needs some energy, it can be plugged into a charging station that draws power from renewable energy sources, or from the grid. Its 20.8-inch (530 mm) diameter wheels and a pull-out handle also give it mobility.

The Yill mobile energy storage unit, designed by Werner Aisslinger, will be launched during Milan Design Week from April 12 to 17.

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