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Project to commercialise zinc-manganese aqueous battery technology for vehicles

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Researchers at the University of Adelaide have been awarded $1m to bring an aqueous battery using zinc and manganese it designed and patented to market for a range of vehicle applications.

The new design uses non-toxic zinc and manganese and incombustible water-based aqueous electrolyte to produce a battery with a high energy density. The researchers have shown a record‐high output voltage for a zinc-based aqueous battery cell of 1.95 V and a gravimetric capacity of about 570 mAh/g , together with a record energy density of approximately 409 Wh/kg when both anode and cathode active materials are taken into consideration. 

A key factor is that the cost of the Zn–Mn02 aqueous battery is estimated at under US$10 per kWh. This is significantly less than that for current Li-ion batteries of $300 per kWh, Ni–Fe batteries $72 per kWh, and lead–acid batteries US$ 48 per kWh. The funding comes from a Chinese battery manufacturer, Zhuoyue Power New Energy, whose current batteries are lead-based. Batteries are expected on the market in the next 12 months.

The high energy safe battery opens up markets where the battery weight, size and safety are essential factors, including automotive and aerospace, and domestic and commercial buildings, and grid-scale energy storage.

Battery designer Dr Dongliang Chao and Prof Shi-Zhang Qiao, from the University of Adelaide’s School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, said the potential for the technology is huge. “I can imagine this battery being used on all vehicle types from small scooters to even diesel electric trains. Also in homes that need batteries to store solar power, or even large solar/wind farms,” said Chao.

“With more sustainable energy being produced – such as through wind and solar farms – storing this energy in batteries in a safe, non-expensive and environmentally sound way is becoming more urgent but current battery materials – including lithium, lead and cadmium – are expensive, hazardous and toxic.”


“Our new electrolytic battery technology uses the non-toxic zinc and manganese and incombustible aqueous electrolyte to produce a battery with a high energy density,” he said. “The high energy safe battery opens up markets where the battery weight/size and safety are essential factors, such as automotive and aerial vehicles, and domestic and commercial dwellings.”

“In addition, the battery uses basic materials and simple manufacturing processes so will be much cheaper to produce and easier to recycle than existing batteries of comparable energy density.”

This project focuses on a combination of the new electrolytic battery technology and the company’s battery assembling technology.

www.adelaide.edu.au

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