"How much flow of water is needed for the turbine to function properly?"
According to the Hydrobee site, "Flow of only one gallon per minute will charge the battery. Water flowing at a fast walking speed (about 4 mph) has enough energy to charge the 6 AA batteries in the Hydrobee can in about 2 hours."
AZskibum, while I like the idea of being able to recharge my cell phone or other batteries while on a hike I am not sure that it is practical. Given the nature of much of the terrain here in the North East, there is not a lot of water available for this type of charger and the time needed to charge is too long - consider standing around for 2 hours waiting; can't leave the phone and charger. Tthe location may be a nice one but only if you are camping out (say for the night) would this make sense. The additional weight is also a concern, traveling lighter is always better. If I had a vote I would be looking for either a flexible solar blanket that can charge as I go or a hand cranked generator to provide recharge power. The other option would be to take advantage of the nature of hiking: using the energy that walking generates to trickle charge your devices.
Junko, my guess is both the cost to manufacture this new cell and while 100 charge cycles is a great improvement it is not enough given the cost of the battery. It does look like this could be a promising avenue to pursue for further battery improvements! It would be great to have this capacity in a battery both for portable use (electric cars as well) and backup storage (think off peak power storage / solar energy storage).
One "catch" with silicon anodes has been the limited number of charging cycles. The fact that these researchers were able to get 100 charging cycles out of this battery is a huge improvement. Considering the higher capacity compared to carbon anode lithium ion batteries, 100 cycles should last the average user a couple years, which I think should be enough to make these batteries acceptable in the marketplace.
prabhakar, my vote also goes to the water-charging battery. Cell phone battery life is a real concern for backpackers on overnight or multi-day trips. Solar chargers help, but how much cooler would it be to charge your phone from a nearby stream?!
The Faucet attachment also can work without wasting water, if the faucet water is routed through this generator and at the outlet also a faucet is attached.
So whenever the faucet is used the generator will run on the flowing water and can generate electricity. Off course the time taken for a such a charging process will depend upon the the usage of the faucet.