The shift towards renewable energy has spawned a demand for high-performance advanced batteries, which gave rise to zinc batteries. Zinc batteries are used for energy storage as a stable anode providing shuttle cations in the electrolyte, which is beneficial for industrialization. The demand for zinc batteries is rapidly increasing due to their environmental friendliness, safety, abundant resources, low cost, and high theoretical energy density.
What is a Zinc Battery?
A zinc battery is a primary battery that uses an electrochemical reaction between manganese dioxide and zinc to provide a direct electric current in the presence of an ammonium chloride electrolyte. Zinc batteries were developed from the technology of the wet Leclanché cell and it was the first commercial dry batteries. Portable devices and flashlights are made possible with the help of zinc batteries as they function in any orientation.
Why there is a need for Zinc Battery?
The scarcity of lithium-ion batteries and toxicity produced by lithium-ion components such as cobalt, nickel, and manganese have propelled the need for alternatives to lithium-ion batteries. Researchers and scientists have found zinc batteries as the best alternatives to lithium-ion batteries due to cheaper material costs, increased safety, and easier recycling options. Zinc battery uses water-based electrolyte alternative instead of chemical-based electrolyte used in lithium-ion batteries, removing the risk of fire, explosion, and environmental impact. Zinc-ion batteries have a longer lifespan and are also more constant and safer than lithium-ion batteries, which makes them the ideal battery for large-scale energy storage such as data centers.
What are the Types of Zinc Battery?
Zinc batteries are generally used as power for devices that consume less energy, like clocks, and smoke detectors, remote controls for televisions as they have a lower per-unit cost. Zinc battery is further classified into five types, we will see the types of zinc batteries in detail.
- Zinc-Air Battery: Zinc-air batteries are relatively inexpensive to produce and have high energy densities. These batteries are powered by oxygen from the air with oxidizing zinc. Zinc-air batteries are primarily used in industries such as electric fences and railway power supplies.
- Zinc-Nickel Battery: A zinc-nickel battery also known as NiZn, is a type of rechargeable battery with a higher voltage of 1.6 V. It is widely used for power backup in data centers as they have long cycle life, high energy density, and low self-discharge rate.
- Zinc-Silver Battery: A zinc-silver battery is a secondary cell that utilizes oxide, zinc, and silver (I and III). Zinc-silver batteries are widely used in missile and space launch vehicle applications as they provide hundreds of charge and discharge cycles.
- Zinc-Carbon Battery: A zinc-carbon uses a manganese dioxide cathode and zinc anode to provide direct electric current. This battery is commonly used in torches, wall clocks, and TV remotes.
- Zinc-Mn Battery: Zinc-Mn has an electrode potential of 1.28 V and is used for stationary energy storage applications as they have low environmental impacting materials, high safety, and low cost. This type of zinc battery is majorly used in toys, radios, flashlights, compact disc players, and digital cameras.
What are the Applications of Zinc Battery?
Zinc batteries are designed to last from 10-15 years and are both environmentally friendly and recyclable. It is a vital material that has multiple uses in many different fields. Below, we will look at some of the applications of zinc batteries.
- Electric Vehicle: Zinc-air batteries are a type of zinc battery that uses oxygen from the air as the cathode, zinc as the anode, and an electrolyte to facilitate the transfer of ions. These batteries are very promising for electric vehicles as they have high energy density. It allows for greater lifespan and performance of electric vehicle batteries.
- Consumer Electronics: Zinc batteries have been used for several decades. Zinc-carbon batteries are a type of zinc battery used in applications such as remote controls, flashlights, toys, and electronics. It produces die-castings, which are important elements in the electrical, hardware, and automobile industries.
- Power Tools: Nickel-zinc batteries are a type of zinc battery utilized in power tools such as jigsaw, miter saw, bandsaw, and others. Nickel-zinc batteries are utilized in power tools as it is a type of rechargeable battery for energy storage.
The increasing need for the production of renewable energy and the growing demand for electric vehicles gave rise to zinc batteries. Zinc batteries are used as a stable anode in aqueous energy storage and are developed from the technology of the wet Leclanché cell. The scarcity of lithium-ion batteries rapidly increasing and zinc batteries are considered to be the best alternatives for lithium-ion batteries. This opens up immense future opportunities for zinc batteries in the coming years.