Battery researchers at Australia's Edith Cowan University discovered the advantages of zinc-air batteries over lithium-ion for electric vehicle applications.

Zinc batteries, claimed to be the oldest energy storage systems, use a zinc anode (negative electrode) with a cathode comprising air (positive electrode). A different study published on Science Direct states that limited power output is a major disadvantage for Zinc batteries, and their performance and operating period depend on humidity and temperature.

Scientists at the Australian university redesigned the battery to tackle its inherent flaws using a mixture of new materials like carbon, cheaper iron, and cobalt. The study stated that zinc-air batteries can be low-cost and environment-friendly while being safe and packing a high energy density.

"Due to the abundance of zinc available in countries such as Australia, and the ubiquity of air, this becomes a highly viable and reliable energy storage solution," said Dr. Muhammad Rizwan Azhar, who led the project. He also added that the batteries can be low-cost, environment friendly, and pack high energy density (theoretically) while being safe.

Research is ongoing in several countries to improve battery technology. Recently, General Motors led a $60 million funding round in Silicon Valley start-up Mitra-Chem, which claims to be developing iron-based cathode active materials and has a proprietary machine learning algorithm to reduce lab-to-production time.

In July 2023, Toyota claimed to have achieved a breakthrough in solid-state battery technology that could deliver 745 miles of range, and recharge in just 10 minutes. Simplified production for both solid-state and liquid-based batteries could result in significant weight and size reductions while achieving a low cost, the Japanese automaker said.

Recently, Stellantis revealed a prototype battery that integrates the inverter and charger functions within the modules. Stellantis is working on the project, called Intelligent Battery Integrated System (IBIS), with France’s National Centre For Scientific Research (CNRS) with the intention of incorporating them into EVs by the end of the decade.

Which of these solutions do you think can advance into widespread adoption? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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