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Zinc-air battery


Zinc–air batteries (non-rechargeable), and zinc–air fuel cells (mechanically-rechargeable) are metal-air batteries powered by oxidizing zinc with oxygen from the air. These batteries have high energy densities and are relatively inexpensive to produce. Sizes range from very small button cells for hearing aids, larger batteries used in film cameras that previously used mercury batteries, to very large batteries used for electric vehicle propulsion. During discharge, a mass of zinc particles forms a porous anode, which is saturated with an electrolyte. Oxygen from the air reacts at the cathode and forms hydroxyl ions which migrate into the zinc paste and form zincate (Zn(OH)2− 4), releasing electrons to travel to the cathode. The zincate decays into zinc oxide and water returns to the electrolyte. The water and hydroxyl from the anode are recycled at the cathode, so the water is not consumed. The reactions produce a theoretical 1.65 volts, but this is reduced to 1.35–1.4 V in available cells. Currently, at least two companies are developing Zinc-air rechargable batteries for grid installation.

Applications: long term-storage, short-term storage, arbitrage, distributed/off-grid storage, mobility

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