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New Zinc-Air Battery Gets Charged by Swapping Its Electrolyte in Under 3 Minutes


In a time when people are trying to find a reason to buy an electric car, because of the time it takes to charge, Eos Energy Storage has seemingly found the solution. Why bother charging the battery from the grid, when you can basically swap its electrolyte with a newly-charged one in under three minutes?

This technology, reported by GigaOM, who talked to their President Steve Hellman, will surely catch if Eos’s management will do things right. Their battery is a zinc-air type – we covered them in the past for several times in recent years.

Eos Energy Storage’s hybrid flow battery has originally been designed for grid applications, and the company is currently struggling to scale up their product to meet the industry’s demands.

Unlike classic batteries having solid electrodes, in a hybrid flow battery the zinc ions travel from the anode to the cathode through the electrolyte, where they get oxidized (air comes into the equation) and produce electricity in the process. So, a system that charges your car in under three minutes would empty the “tank” with electrolyte containing oxidized zinc and replace it with fresh one, containing new, non-oxidized zinc.

The old zinc oxide would then get recycled and the process will be able to repeat itself over and over again. The company says their batteries will have a 30 years lifespan, far greater than that of anything I’ve ever heard of. They estimate the number of charges to about 10,000 during this period.

However, Eos Energy’s first product won’t be a car battery, but one that stores grid electricity and will be used for grid frequency regulation in alternative energy applications, so it’ll still have a good use. The first operational, commercial product will be available in 2013 or 2014.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? It’s another hope for the age of electric cars to prosper…

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