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Home > News > Betting on a Metal-Air Battery Breakthrough

November 8th, 2009

Betting on a Metal-Air Battery Breakthrough

Abstract:
A spinoff from Arizona State University says it can develop a metal-air battery that dramatically outperforms the best lithium-ion batteries on the market, and now it has the funding it needs to prove it.

The U.S. Department of Energy last week awarded a $5.13-million research grant to Scottsdale, AZ-based Fluidic Energy toward development of a metal-air battery that relies on ionic liquids, instead of an aqueous solution, as its electrolyte.

Friesen is also cautious when talking about the other key component of Fluidic Energy's research: a metal electrode structure that overcomes the problem of dendrite formation. These branch-like structures can grow on, for example, a zinc electrode and cause a metal-air battery to short-circuit. Dendrite formation happens in rechargeable batteries when the chemical reactions are reversed, limiting the number of charging cycles. Fluidic Energy has developed an electrode scaffold with multi-modal porosity, meaning it has a range of pore sizes down to as small as 10 nanometers. The scaffold surrounds the metal, in this case zinc, and can prevent dendrites that form during charging.

Source:
technologyreview.com

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