For sure, like I’ve said it before, electric vehicles are to be the next big thing in automobile industry. The only roadblock to EVs are the energy storing devices, also known as “batteries”. Until now, There have been a lot of battery types, whose vogue lasted several years each, as scientists figured out a new, more powerful type, with more energy density (Pb, NiCd, NiMH, Li-Ion, Li-Po).
Today, dr. Ross E. Dueber, the CEO of ZPower, a battery producing company, discusses the technology of making the silver-zinc battery for consumer electronics at the Batteries 2008 conference in Nice France. The conference just started today and is of great interest for the alternative energy blogosphere.
Batteries 2008 is a worldwide exhibition that focuses on power supply, with more than 400 companies present. It will be held at the Acropolis Convention Center on October 8, 9 and 10.
Dr. Dueber said in a press release, before the event: “At the heart of the $55 billion global battery market is the chemical conundrum of power supply. Today’s consumer has the ability to watch an entire movie on a palm-sized device-but portable power technology has not kept up. Engineers admit that they are hitting the wall on lithium polymer and lithium-ion performance. Unstable lithium-ion batteries have resulted in a high number of product recalls by manufacturers of notebook computers. These market trends are creating a pressing need for a better battery.”
Silver-zinc battery chemistry is currently poised to move into the commercial marketplace for use in consumer electronics. This new silver-zinc battery chemistry uses the latest in advanced polymers, nano-technology, power electronics and processing methods to create a battery that surpasses other rechargeable batteries for notebook computers, mobile phone and consumer electronics applications.
The advantages of silver-zinc batteries can be summed up as follows:
High Performance – Up to 40% more run time than traditional lithium-ion batteries. And with recent improvements in battery cycle life, silver-zinc batteries achieve 200 + cycles at 100% discharge and thousands of cycles at intermediate discharge.
Clean Technology – Over 95% of key battery elements can be recycled and reused. The raw materials recovered in the recycling process of silver-zinc batteries are the same quality as those that went into the creation of the battery. Environmental impact is lessened since the need to mine for new materials is minimized.
Safe – Silver-zinc batteries contain no lithium and are inherently safe. They are not subject to the recent FAA air travel restrictions now placed on lithium-ion batteries. Silver-zinc batteries feature a water-based chemistry that is not flammable. The battery is therefore free from the problems of thermal runaway and fire.
Although they are intended for consumer electronics, I don’t see why Silver-zinc batteries couldn’t be “exported” to the land of electric vehicles, providing them with more power, faster recharging and reusable residues. In the car industry, another big issue is charge time. While you can wait for 3 hours for your laptop to charge, you can’t always do that for your car, because the car itself is an object made to take you in a hurry most of the times. I think a good idea would be to use supercapacitors or a quickly-charging battery in parallel with a slower-charging but powerful one.