Rechargeable zinc-air batteries soon?

The disposable batteries that are available in the market have a zinc-based charging support, and therefore are alkaline batteries. The problem of durability of this kind of battery lies precisely in this alkaline part. In order to get around it, a team of researchers came up with the idea of designing rechargeable zinc-air batteries. This new concept could benefit both electricity networks and the environment.

The problem with conventional batteries is that the chemical reaction during discharge does not allow the reverse reaction. To achieve the desired result, scientists had to modify the reactants acting during the discharge reaction. In effect, they changed the structure of the electrolyte.

Rechargeable Zinc Air Batteries Soon
Photo by Brett Jordan – Unsplash

They were successful in developing the prototype rechargeable zinc battery last month. The first results of the study were published in the journal Science .

Use trifluoromethanesulfonate as electrolyte

When an alkaline battery is discharged, one of the electrodes becomes unusable due to the formation of carbonates. In addition, zinc does not return to its original place, but rather forms dendrites. Dendrites are kinds of thorns that can cause a short circuit in the electric generator.

The only way to design a rechargeable battery is therefore to prevent the formation of dendrites and carbonates. The key element of the battery being oxygen, the researchers thought of introducing pure oxygen, but the problem of dendrites remains.

To limit the formation of the latter, the scientists then changed the structure of the electrolyte. They opted for trifluoromethanesulfonate, which is a slightly water-repellent or hydrophobic substance.

Possible applications on other materials?

The new electrolyte caused unexpected reactions during unloading. During use, the dendrites that formed were low. In addition, peroxide fibers were created and then disappeared during recharging.

The advantage of this new battery is that it can operate for an average duration of 1,600 hours. It is also affordable because zinc is plentiful and inexpensive. On the other hand, its drawback is that its charge / discharge cycle lasts only 20 hours.

At the end of the research, the experts learned that the same process could be applied to other metals such as magnesium or aluminum.

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The disposable batteries that are available in the market have a zinc-based charging support, and therefore are alkaline batteries. The problem of durability of this kind of battery lies precisely in this alkaline part. In order to get around it, a team of researchers came up with the idea of designing rechargeable zinc-air batteries. This new concept could benefit both electricity networks and the environment.

The problem with conventional batteries is that the chemical reaction during discharge does not allow the reverse reaction. To achieve the desired result, scientists had to modify the reactants acting during the discharge reaction. In effect, they changed the structure of the electrolyte.

Rechargeable Zinc Air Batteries Soon
Photo by Brett Jordan – Unsplash

They were successful in developing the prototype rechargeable zinc battery last month. The first results of the study were published in the journal Science .

Use trifluoromethanesulfonate as electrolyte

When an alkaline battery is discharged, one of the electrodes becomes unusable due to the formation of carbonates. In addition, zinc does not return to its original place, but rather forms dendrites. Dendrites are kinds of thorns that can cause a short circuit in the electric generator.

The only way to design a rechargeable battery is therefore to prevent the formation of dendrites and carbonates. The key element of the battery being oxygen, the researchers thought of introducing pure oxygen, but the problem of dendrites remains.

To limit the formation of the latter, the scientists then changed the structure of the electrolyte. They opted for trifluoromethanesulfonate, which is a slightly water-repellent or hydrophobic substance.

Possible applications on other materials?

The new electrolyte caused unexpected reactions during unloading. During use, the dendrites that formed were low. In addition, peroxide fibers were created and then disappeared during recharging.

The advantage of this new battery is that it can operate for an average duration of 1,600 hours. It is also affordable because zinc is plentiful and inexpensive. On the other hand, its drawback is that its charge / discharge cycle lasts only 20 hours.

At the end of the research, the experts learned that the same process could be applied to other metals such as magnesium or aluminum.

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