Zinc-Air Batteries

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by brechler
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Zinc-Air Batteries


Zinc-Air Batteries Battery of the future?


How they work



The Battery of the Future?

Many scientists, including those at Stanford University, are working to create a rechargable zinc-air battery. Stanford University has created a protype, and Electric Fuel company is developing zinc-air technology for cars. As zinc-air batteries are more enviornmentally friendly and less costly than many other batteries, it can be the battery of the future if research proves to be successful.

Zinc-air batteries were discovered in the 19th century. In the 1930s, the batteries were first used commercially for railroad signaling, remote communication sites, and elsewhere. The 1970s brought the creation of the air cathode used today. This made the batteries smaller so they could be used in hearing aids, pagers, and other medical devices. Now, they are primarily used in cell phones.

The difference between zinc-air batteries and other types of batteries is that they use materials in an out of the physical battery. Because the oxygen is not in the battery, the compartment is smaller than most, also due to the fact that it only has to house zinc. Oxygen enters the cell through tiny holes in the top of the cell. The oxygen reacts with the zinc and produces the power for the battery. The overall voltage for the battery is about 1.4 V.

Chemical Equation

Sources 1. http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/june/zinc-air-battery-060413.html2. http://web.archive.org/web/20100910135709/http://www1.duracell.com/oem/Primary/Zinc/Zinc_Air_Tech_Bulletin.pdf 3. http://cleantechnica.com/2013/09/09/zinc-air-battery-company-claims-novel-electrolyte-will-do-the-trick-ct-exclusive/4. http://www.technologyreview.com/article/401188/zinc-air-batteries/5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zinc–air_battery

There are many advantages to zinc-air batteries. They have an excellent sealed shelf life of three years, the ability to self-vent gases to eliminate the possibility of explosion or other issues, and the price of zinc is low, making the batteries an inexpensive option. The batteries are considered environmentally safe and have the highest energy density of any commercial battery. They contain no toxic compounds, are not reactive or flammable, and can be recycled and safely disposed of. However, there are limitations. If there is constant contact with ambient air, the zinc gel gets dried up, and if it is too humid, the battery can get flooded with water vapor. But to many, these limitations are outweighed by its advantages.

Limits and Advantages

Bailey Rechler and Annabel Pruitt


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