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Materials Energy

267: Zinc Battery

Problem:

Rechargeable batteries have been used to power various electric devices and store energy from renewables, but their toxic components (namely, electrode materials, electrolyte, and separator) generally cause serious environment issues when disused. Such toxicity characteristic makes them difficult to power future wearable electronic devices.

Solution:

Zinc battery.


Zinc-chloride cells (usually marketed as “heavy duty” batteries) use a paste primarily composed of zinc chloride, which gives a longer life and steadier voltage output compared with ammonium chloride electrolyte

An environmentally friendly and highly safe rechargeable battery, based on a pyrene‐4,5,9,10‐tetraone (PTO) cathode and zinc anode in mild aqueous electrolyte has been developed by a team of researchers at Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

Their PTO//Zn full cell exhibits a high energy density (186.7 Wh kg−1), supercapacitor‐like power behaviour and long‐term lifespan (over 1000 cycles). Moreover, a belt‐shaped PTO//Zn battery with robust mechanical durability and remarkable flexibility is first fabricated to clarify its potential application in wearable electronic devices.

In a collaboration between Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, USA and the MEET Battery Research Center of University of Münster and Helmholtz Institute Münster, Germany, 12 scientists have developed a new type of dual-ion battery.

The cell chemistry graphite zinc metal with an aqueous electrolyte is safer, cheaper and more sustainable than proven energy storage systems and showed a promising electrochemical performance.

The cathode of the energy storage device can consist of graphitic carbons, which can be produced from renewable raw materials. In addition, water and biological binders, such as those found in yoghurt, can be used in electrode production. Further, the zinc metal-based anode offers a better material availability

For the charging and discharging mechanism: instead of only one type of ion – lithium ions – the electrolyte anions are also involved in energy storage in the dual-ion battery. The electrolyte thus functions as an active material, which offers researchers further optimisation approaches. It also comes with an inherently lower risk of fire.

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