USYD Develops Re-Chargeable Zinc-Air Batteries

Geronimo Vena
Agosto 16, 2017

But all this could be set to change thanks to the the three-stage method published in Advanced Materials by the team. The creation of sustainable zinc-air catalysts makes the use of the batteries as a lithium-ion replacement more feasible. The researchers think they can "produce a family of hybrid materials" instead of using precious metals. The design allows these batteries to store up to five times more energy than lithium-ion batteries, and, notably, zinc is less harmful on the environment: Because zinc is low in toxicity, there's not as severe of an impact on the environment when the batteries are trashed or recycled, and little concern that the degradation of those batteries could harm surrounding ecosystems.

In partnership with Singapore-based Nanyang Technological University, chemical engineers at the University of Sydney (USYD) have developed re-chargeable zinc-air batteries.

What is a Zinc-Air Battery?

Metal oxides of earth-abundant elements are promising electrocatalysts to overcome the sluggish oxygen evolution and oxygen reduction reaction (OER/ORR) in many electrochemical energy-conversion devices. No special steps are needed (assuming its a mercury-free design) to throw them away.

The major obstacle, however, is that zinc-air batteries are hard to recharge. This is due to the lack of electrocatalysts that successfully reduce and generate oxygen during the discharging and charging of a battery.

Now, while zinc-air batteries are currently used as an energy source in hearing aids and some film cameras and railway signal devices, their widespread use has been hindered by the fact that, up until now, recharging them has proved hard.

A University of Sydney researcher holds up a rechargeable zinc-air battery. And with a more refined manufacturing process, the researchers were able to more intricately control the composition, size and crystallinity of these catalysts to build robust rechargeable zinc-air batteries.

They're also handy batteries: the study found "less than a 10 percent battery efficacy drop over 60 discharging/charging cycles of 120 hours". This leads to a production process that's far more affordable than conventional lithium-ion cells.

Altre relazioni OverNewsmagazine

Discuti questo articolo