Monday, May 15, 2017

Zinc Can Compete with Lithium

US Navy damage control exercise by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Arnesia McIntyre. (Photo Credit: US Navy) Click to Enlarge.
A team of researchers from the Naval Research Laboratory is on to a new zinc-based alternative to lithium-ion batteries.  The new research aims at enabling the Navy to expands its energy storage options.  The new zinc battery could also makes its way into the EV market, providing manufacturers with a lighter, less expensive alternative to today’s crop of lithium-ion batteries.

Don’t get the wrong idea about EV battery safety.
Modern lithium-ion battery packs are designed with control systems that prevent overheating and provide for a longer lifespan.

Head NTL researcher Debra Rolison ... underscored that you’re only going to get safety failure in a poorly designed control system — hoverboards being one notorious example. That kind of problem has practically zero chance of occurring in today’s intensely regulated auto market.
Zinc Is Not the Answer — But a 3-D Zinc Sponge Is!
Instead of tinkering around with zinc in its conventional powder form, Rolison’s research team created a nickel-zinc battery that deploys a sponge form of zinc on the anode.

“The advantages of the sponge form is that zinc is always connected to zinc. We never had that before.  That’s why we can oxidize over 90 percent and get almost all of it back. That’s not feasible with powder.”
You can find all the details in the journal Science under the somewhat provocative title, “Zinc can compete with lithium.”  

As for how long it could take before the new nickel-zinc battery leaps out the laboratory door and lands in your mobile device, that may not take as long as you think.

According to Rolison, the new technology is ready for commercialization and the new batteries can be deployed on a drop-in basis.

Read more at 3-D Zinc Sponge Could Wipe The Energy Storage Floor With Li-ion Batteries 

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