Innovative zinc materials for energy storage systems

Christoph Müller, Grillo-Werke AG, Duisburg, Deutschland

The growing need for energy storage systems, in recent years especially with increasing use of renewable energy sources, revived the research and development of battery technologies as promising solutions. In addition, there is an increased awareness of the importance of a circular economy in order to use raw materials efficiently and in a climate-conscious manner. Zinc-based batteries offer many advantages for these purposes. It is relatively inexpensive, widely available, has a high specific capacity, is safe, has good environmental performance and is excellent recyclable. Primary batteries in particular are based to a large extent on zinc-carbon and alkaline batteries. Also, primary zinc-air batteries for hearing aids have been widely used for a long time. Rechargeable zinc systems, which have made promising developments in the recent years, are currently attracting increasing interest worldwide. Alkali-manganese, zinc-air, zinc-ion and zinc-nickel are some of the technologies in this context. Flow- or flow-assisted-batteries are important for large scale energy storage systems because power and energy can be scaled independently. Here we present advantages and challenges of several hot-topic zinc-based batteries. For these systems, innovative zinc anode materials with specialized characteristics and properties are required. Material purity, size, shape and morphology have essential influence on the battery performance. The rheological behavior has a strong effect on the operation performance of flow-batteries.

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