Breakthrough in Cycle Life Performance for Nickel Zinc Battery

Energy Systems Inc. (ZAF), a developer of next-generation battery technology, has announced [May 07, 2019] a technology breakthrough in their nickel-zinc (NiZn) battery technology that extends cycle life and improves reliability to disrupt the rapidly growing industrial battery market…

…an innovative electrode design, which resulted in the potential to double our projected cycle life. The magnitude of this improvement is that it will allow nickel-zinc to compete with lithium-ion without the safety hazards in many applications.”

…an opportunity to impact the telecommunication, data center and utility markets with NiZn batteries…

We are now in the process of moving this innovative technology out of the lab and into our Joplin production facility and expect to be delivering batteries in Q3 to key customer projects.”

Source: Business Wire
ZAF Energy Systems’ New Chief Technology Officer, Kurt Salloux, Announces Breakthrough in Cycle Life Performance for Nickel Zinc Battery

Why Nickel Zinc?

Ni-Zn batteries have excellent intrinsic properties, including high performance, long cycle life, low life-cycle cost, and low environmental impact. The breakthroughs achieved by ZAF include a proprietary electrolyte and zinc electrode formulation that greatly reduces zinc electrode solubility. These improvements permit long cycle life, high specific energy and specific power, along with maintenance-free operation. ZAF Ni-Zn batteries provide a viable and safe alternative to lithium-ion and lead-acid counterparts. Improved safety is one of the most significant advantages of the Ni-Zn battery, which makes this technology an ideal candidate for a variety of applications. The Core Components of our Battery:

Negative Electrode… is primarily composed of zinc oxide that is doped with nucleation, migration stabilization, and hydrogen suppressant additives. The zincate nucleation additives are engineered to maintain a stable zinc structure throughout the life of the electrode. The migration stabilization additives work symbiotically with ZAF’s electrolyte to stabilize the zincate ion and the hydrogen suppressant additives minimize gassing, which reduces dry out in the battery.

Electrolyte… is composed mostly of water, potassium hydroxide, and zinc stabilization additives. This novel electrolyte acts as the strands in a net encapsulating the zinc electrode. For the net to be effective, anchors must be engineered into the negative zinc electrode by way of the migration stabilization additives.

Positive Electrode… is primarily composed of nickel hydroxide and conductive aids. Historically carbon has been used in large quantities in the positive electrode as a conductive aid; however, ZAF has been able to eliminate carbon from the electrode, thereby mitigating failure modes associated with carbon corrosion. The ZAF positive electrode is a very robust electrode with high utilization over a broad range of current densities. ZAF Revolutionizes the NiZn Battery: With 30+ years of development, ZAF has found solutions that prepare the NiZn battery for the commercial market by mitigating failure modes associated with zinc shape change, dry out, and manufacturability. Three historical problems: Zinc Shape Change: In the Ni-Zn battery system zinc is partially soluble in the alkaline electrolyte and dissolves to form zincate anions. This process can lead to shape change, loss in capacity, and dendritic growth. ZAF’s Solution: ZAF’s engineered negative electrode contains nucleation and migration stabilization additives that work symbiotically with a novel electrolyte to stabilize the zincate ion. This mitigation strategy increases the cycle life of the Ni-Zn battery, while maintaining a greater amount of the initial capacity.

DFM (Design for Manufacturing): In the past, Ni-Zn batteries were constrained to low volume applications due to the manufacturability of the chemistry. Subsequently, critical build parts (electrodes, for example) could not be scaled for high volume and automated manufacturing. ZAF’s solution: The use of 3D current collectors and commonly utilized slurry casting techniques have enabled the Ni-Zn chemistry to be scaled from a low rate, handmade process to a high volume, reel-to-reel process.

Dry Out: A common failure mode encountered in the cycling of Ni-Zn cells, is the loss of electrolyte or dry out. This is caused by the production of oxygen and hydrogen from the decomposition of water. ZAF’s solution: ZAF combats the dry out problem by integrating gassing suppressant additives into the negative electrode and incorporating a recombinant device into the battery. This recombinant device recombines the oxygen and hydrogen formed from the decomposition of water.

Source: ZAF Energy Systems
ZAF Energy Systems – Our Technology



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