New Battery is Cheaper, More Powerful
April 28, 2016 Leave a comment
Rechargeable batteries play an important role in supporting the existing power grids of much of the United States, and they have numerous other roles as well, from powering iPhones to cars. Normally, they come in two forms: lithium-ion batteries like you find in smart phones, and lead-acid batteries in cars.
Pretty much since the development of lithium-ion batteries, scientists have been looking for ways to make them cheaper, and they’ve been trying to make zinc-manganese batteries but keep finding that those batteries lose their potency after only a few cycles of use. According to new research by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) though, there’s a way around that.
PNNL researchers figured out why zinc-manganese batteries lose their potency, and then figured out how to stop that. The result is a powerful battery that is as cheap to produce as a lead-acid car battery, but far more powerful. Why is this a big deal?
We use lead-acid batteries because they’re cheaper to produce than lithium-ion batteries, but not quite as potent. That’s why these batteries have to be so much larger than the one in your laptop. The expense of lithium-ion batteries is part of why devices like iPhones are so expensive (but only part).
Successfully putting zinc-manganese batteries to use could be huge. The materials used are really common, which cuts costs right there, but they’re also more efficient than lead-acid batteries, which means longer lasting car batteries and power grid backups.
The team is still working on their new batteries, but they’re pretty excited and very confident about the usability of this new technology. These batteries should have a broad appeal, to companies looking to save money on production, to consumers looking to get more power for their money, and to municipalities looking to upgrade their power systems.