Fuji Pigment Aluminum Air Battery Ready For Commercialization This Spring – Recharge It With Water

JAN 24 2015 BY MARK KANE 28

Fuji Pigment

Fuji Pigment

A schematic diagram of the Fuji Pigment's ALFA cell

A schematic diagram of the Fuji Pigment’s ALFA cell

Japanese company Fuji Pigment announced that it has developed a new type of aluminium-air battery called ALFA and is preparing it for commercialization by spring 2015.

Unique for this type is that ALFA is rechargeable by refilling it with salty or normal water, which sounds similar to Phinergy batteries. We believe that this is more a primary battery as cells work “for minimum 14 days by refilling salty water or normal water occasionally“.

Although we don’t know details (energy density could be really high), nor if ALFA would fit these into electric cars (as a range-extender refill module for example), we do note this an another potential breakthrough.

“The aluminum-air battery has a theoretical specific energy level of 8,100 Wh/kg and has the second largest capacity among various types of potential secondary batteries. Theoretical specific energy of a commercialized lithium-ion battery is 120-200 Wh/kg. Therefore, the aluminium-air battery possesses theoretical capacity more than 40 times as large as that of a lithium-ion battery.

A major barrier to commercialization has been the high corrosion rate of aluminium during the electrochemical process. In addition, byproducts such as Al2O3 and Al(OH)3 accumulate at electrodes, hindering further battery reaction.

Regarding this obstacle, Dr. Ryohei Mori at Fuji Pigment Co. Ltd. (headquartered in Kawanishi, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan; http://www.fuji-pigment.co.jp/en/index.html) has invented the new type of aluminium-air battery. He has modified the aluminium-air battery structure by placing ceramic and carbonaceous materials between aqueous electrolyte and electrodes as an internal layer. Owing to this modified structure, anode corrosion and byproduct accumulation were suppressed, which resulted in longer battery lifetime.

1. The newly invented aluminium-air battery can work just by refilling salty water or normal water once in a while.

2. Aluminium is an abundant, cheap and safe material which can be applied for metal-air batteries. Therefore, battery prices can be cheap.

3. The new battery can be manufactured and work in an ambient atmosphere because it is stable in ambient air conditions. Moreover, there is no need to worry about explosion or flammability like a lithium-ion battery.

4. All materials (electrode, electrolyte) are safe and cheap, and can be made very easily even in the house kitchen.

5. Theoretically, the aluminium-air battery has the second largest capacity next to a lithium-air battery which is the strongest secondary battery. (lithium-ion battery: 120-200 Wh/kg, aluminium-air battery: 8,100Wh/kg, lithium-air battery: 11,400 Wh/kg)

The aluminium-air battery has theoretical capacity more than 40 times that of a lithium-ion battery.

Scientific articles and a conference regarding the new type of aluminium-air battery are listed below.

Ryohei Mori, RSC Advances, 3, 2013, 11547-11551
Ryohei Mori, RSC Advances, 4, 2014, 1982-1987
Ryohei Mori, RSC Advances, 4, 2014, 30346-30351
Ryohei Mori, Journal of the Electrochemical Society, 2015, 162 (3) A288-A294.

Ryohei Mori, 225th ECS (ElectroChemical Society) Meeting, Orlando, Florida, USA, 11-15 May 2014

Basic battery properties:

0.7-0.8 V, 400-800 mA/cell (10 cm x 10 cm), 4-8 mA/cm2
Battery works for minimum 14 days by refilling salty water or normal water occasionally.

Also, we can modify the battery at the request of customers. 
(For example: 10.0-12.0 V, 4.0-8.0 A or even stronger battery)

Fuji Pigment Co. Ltd. is constantly improving the battery performance and planning to commercialize this new type of aluminium-air battery in the market by spring 2015.”

Source: Fuji Pigment via GreenCarCongress

Categories: Battery Tech

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28 Comments on "Fuji Pigment Aluminum Air Battery Ready For Commercialization This Spring – Recharge It With Water"

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Ok, you have to fill it with water, then what happens when temperatures fall below the freezing point?


It turns into an ICE car. 😀


Lol, but still no answers…


Good one. Well with salty water at least you lower the freezing temperature. Of course would not salt contribute to corrosion? Hmm.




The salt in the water lowers the freezing point


Only until -10C, then what….


The lowest temperature possible for liquid salt solution is -21.1°C. At that temperature, the salt begins to crystallize out of solution

Why not use antifreeze?

Eric Cote

I’m no chemist, but I’m guessing that’s where the salt water option comes in handy.

Prithu Adhikary

Mu ha ha ha ha.. Feeling so lucky to be born in India…


Erm… so let’s say 0.8V at 0.8A in a 10cm x 10cm cell – that’s 0.64 Wh per cell? Did I calculate that right?

Micke Larsson

No. It’s 0.64 Voltampere which is almost the same as Watt.
So it’s rather for knowing how many cells (and how powerful) you need to be able to power let’s say the 80 kW motor of the Leaf.


Which are +2 mm thick.


Right, well – I thought about 1C discharge, so 0.8A would also be 0.8Ah. But maybe it’s different for these cells. If it’s 0.1C, then each cell has 6.4Wh. Would explain why they call it a secondary battery. Maybe it’s 0.003C (the 14 days) – lol.


Cavaron said:

“Would explain why they call it a secondary battery.”

Whoever wrote the article mistakenly calls it a secondary (i.e., rechargeable) battery, but read the actual quotes carefully: The company does not claim it’s a secondary battery; they merely compare it -to- what they describe as the best secondary battery.

When it’s used up, you need to replace it with a new one.


Looking at the big picture if not used in EV’s this could be the start of cheap EV quick charge stations. They could be placed anywhere and not be hooked into the grid. That would scrape off the Electric Companies from making any profit from EV’s…..and power my house.

Khai L.

That volumetric density (must be really light to have 8100wh/kg, but only 8mA/cm2) doesn’t look too good. But if it’s used as a load-leveling station to supplement wind/solar farms, it could bring down the price of electricity considerably!!


Unfortunately high on promise and low on tech spec…

Lindsay Patten

It looks to have low power density but high energy density, the fact that it will produce power for 14 days is intriguing.

Think of the Tesla design where you have a main battery and then a second battery like this, you get your power for driving from the main battery but the second battery is continually recharging the main battery. Any time you are parked the main battery is being charged.

It doesn’t solve the problem of driving for 8 hours straight but on any trip where you spend a lot of time parked the car would recharge without having to be parked at a charger. You can eat at your favorite restaurant instead of the restaurant the charging station is next to. The car is recharging while your in the museum even if the museum doesn’t have a charger nearby. It’s recharging while you sleep, etc. etc.

Jouni Valkonen

The economics for that does not work in practice because there will be a free to use slow charging socket in every street light pole. Therefore there just is no places where there is no grid available. And if you go truly off-grid regions (where there is no gasoline either, btw) , you might want to rent foldable solar panels.


It is likely not rechargeable, but, at 40 times the energy density, it could be used as an expendable range extender. You would have an EV with a 200 miles Li ion battery, but after 200 miles, if you can’t go to a supercharger or if you don’t want to wait, you could start to use this expendable battery to get to your destination for as long as it last. You would have a double SOC indicator, one for the Lithium battery and one for the expendable Aluminum battery. When your Aluminum battery is used you replace it in a Tesla center or in a shop. It would be somewhat like camping gas bottles.


That’s right; its an expendable range extender. Use it up and then replace it with a new one.

And since it can’t be recharged (at least, not without tearing it down, melting down the aluminum to remove the oxygen, and rebuilding the fuel cell), it’s completely unsuitable for grid power storage, or any other use where it needs to be cycled frequently.

Jouni Valkonen

Metal air batteries are not good for electric cars because they have very very low power density. It is hard to get even few kilowatts from the metal air battery pack, so they are probably even worse than BMW i3 REx. Recharging is another big issue that makes them as a show stoppers for electric cars.

But many applications would benefit greatly. We could finally get rid of those silly non-rechargeable AA batteries that are a historic relic from 20th century that are refusing to die.


Why do you have to wait until it is 100% drained before you turn on the REx?

The problem with BMW i3 REx is NOT the REx but how the REx is operated…

If the BMW i3 REx allows driver to set a “hold mode”, then it is perfectly good enough for any types of driving.

Robert Weekley

The i3 Rex, on Tahoe Trip, Modified, so it comes on at 75% SOC, still can’t keep up, but at least Slows the charge depletion, such that it ends up a low, but still usable state of charge at the destination.

From http://www.bmwblog.com/2014/10/29/sf-bay-tahoe-bmw-i3-rex-learned/ – we see “The Lederhosen Test’ – “The only difference in the two drives was the SOC at the bottom of the hill and manually engaging Hold Mode. This simply means the REx was used in the Apple Pie Test to “hold” a 6.5% SOC but on the Lederhosen Test, it was used to “hold” a 75% SOC.”

Just above the ‘In Summary’ Paragraph – “The i3, with Hold Mode engaged, used a mere 31% (75% at the bottom of the hill less 44% at the summit) of its SOC to gain nearly 7,200 feet of elevation.” [This is with the i3 Hold Mode engaged at a ‘hacked’ 75% SOC, versus the Factory 6.5% SOC Engagement]

Same story copied here – http://insideevs.com/bmw-i3-rex-bevx-restrictions-plea-carb-unleash-rex/

More here:


This is a good REx battery/Fuel Cell…


The headline is at best misleading, if not completely wrong. You wouldn’t “recharge” an aluminum-air fuel cell (aka “battery”) by adding water. It may indeed need to be refilled with water, as older car starter batteries occasionally needed to have water added. But adding water to a lead-acid battery doesn’t “recharge” it, and it won’t for this fuel cell either.

The idea that water could “recharge” a fuel cell or battery would be a perpetual motion scam, just like claims that there is a magic carburetor which can “burn” water as fuel. Water is -already- “burnt”, since it can be thought of as the ash of burning hydrogen. Kinda hard to extract energy from ash.

Brian Henderson

This appears to be salt water based fuel cell, or a primary battery.

How many charge cycles can the the cell preform in normal use? Is the cell electrically rechargeable?