Zinc air batteries and other potentials batteries for grids

SolarNovus – Researchers around the globe are making headway developing batteries for large-scale, and grid-capable solar energy storage.

EOS Energy Storage of Easton, Pennsylvania, is developing a high-energy rechargeable zinc-air battery for use in the grid. It’s expected to store three times the energy of lithium-ion batteries for half the cost. Initial manufacturing is expected next year with megawatt-scale systems delivery is anticipated for 2013.

* Most cycles ever realized by metal-air battery over 2000 battery cycles demonstrated to date with no physical degradation
* Proprietary innovations overcome historical limitations to electric rechargeability of zinc-air batteries
* Safe, non-toxic, stable electrolyte and materials, safe and self-healing battery operation
* Low cost per kWh, due to low cost materials, architecture, and manufacturing methods


Aquion Energy, based in Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania, is developing what it calls a low-cost, ambient temperature sodium-ion battery. It uses an electro-chemical couple said to be capable of thousands of deep discharge cycles with little or no loss of capacity and an efficiency of more than 85%. It uses thicker electrodes (carbon anode and sodium cathode), a sodium-based aqueous electrolyte and less-expensive separators and current collector materials. The battery uses no hazardous materials. The plan is to build units with a capacity between 10 kWh and 100 kWh that can perform for more than two hours. Aquion hopes to release a commercial grid-enabled battery in 2012.

* Lithium-ion is still high cost but several companies are trying to scale it up

* Iron-copper nanoparticles technology developed at Stanford. The new electrode uses the same principle as li-ion, but accomplishes it using abundant and inexpensive elements. Yi Cui says the new battery will use a water-based electrolyte rather than the solvent typically used in li-ion batteries.

* Sodium sulfur is a molten-metal type of battery with high energy density, high efficiency (89–92%) and long cycle life. While made from inexpensive materials, it operates at high temperatures (300 to 350 degrees C) and must be contained in concrete structures.

* lead-acid is the cheapest

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