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HomeBlogA Revolutionary Breakthrough: Corrosion Issue in Aqueous Zinc Batteries Solved, Extending Battery Lifespan by Five to 20 Times

A Revolutionary Breakthrough: Corrosion Issue in Aqueous Zinc Batteries Solved, Extending Battery Lifespan by Five to 20 Times

2024-01-18
Aqueous Zinc Batteries (AZBs) have emerged as viable alternatives to the dominant lithium-ion battery technology in the renewable and stationary energy storage market. However, the development of AZBs has been hindered by a major challenge – chemical corrosion. This corrosion severely limits the ability of these batteries to recharge, making them less efficient and reliable.

The chemistry behind AZBs is advantageous due to the energy-dense zinc metal anode and aqueous salt solution electrolytes. However, the incompatibility between the two components leads to chemical corrosion of the anode, ultimately reducing the battery's cycle life.

 

Excitingly, a team of researchers from the UNSW School of Chemical Engineering has recently made a groundbreaking discovery. After three years of dedication and hard work, the researchers have found a solution that addresses the corrosion issue, significantly improving the battery's lifespan. Their solution has extended the battery cycle life by an impressive five to 20 times, transforming it from just a few months to well over three years.

 

The key to this breakthrough lies in adding small concentrations of organic compounds to the battery electrolyte. Specifically, the researchers discovered that adding a 1% concentration of 1,2 butanediol effectively reduces the dendritic zinc deposits that cause short-circuiting in the battery cell.

 

This remarkable achievement, which was recently published in Advanced Materials, offers a five to 20 times improvement in the battery cycle life under conditions suitable for beyond-lab-scale development. The solution not only tackles the corrosion issue but also maintains the aqueous nature of the electrolyte, preserving the cost and safety benefits of AZB technology. The results are even approaching the levels of competing lithium-ion batteries.

 

Dr. Dipan Kundu, one of the researchers involved in the project, emphasized the potential of AZB technology in various industries. He stated, "AZB technology could provide a cost-effective and reliable storage option for industries like mining, construction, and telecommunications." The UNSW estimates that a fully developed AZB technology would cost consumers only one-third to one-fourth of the price of current lithium-ion systems.

 

Furthermore, the scalability of AZB technology is a game-changer. Kundu explained, "The AZB technology can be implemented as energy storage systems at various scales, from small-scale residential/commercial and medium-scale community storage units to large-scale grid-level installations." This versatility makes AZBs an attractive choice for a wide range of applications.

 

The UNSW research team is not stopping there. They are actively working on developing battery cell prototypes and seeking funding to establish a spinoff that focuses on commercial development. Their dedication to advancing AZB technology is commendable and the future looks promising for this revolutionary energy storage solution.

 

In conclusion, the breakthrough achieved by the UNSW researchers in solving the corrosion issue in AZBs has paved the way for significant improvements in battery lifespan. With the potential to cost consumers significantly less than current lithium-ion systems, AZBs could revolutionize energy storage across various industries. The scalability of this technology makes it a versatile option for different storage needs. The UNSW team's commitment to further developing AZBs is a testament to their determination to bring this promising technology to the market.

 

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