Home > Press > Stanford scientists develop high-efficiency zinc-air battery
|This is a rechargeable zinc-oxide battery in a tri-electrode configuration with cobalt-oxide/carbon nanotube and iron-nickel/layered double hydroxide catalysts for charge and discharge, respectively.
Credit: Yanguang Li, Stanford University
Stanford University scientists have developed an advanced zinc-air battery with higher catalytic activity and durability than similar batteries made with costly platinum and iridium catalysts. The results, published in the May 7 online edition of the journal Nature Communications, could lead to the development of a low-cost alternative to conventional lithium-ion batteries widely used today.
Stanford scientists develop high-efficiency zinc-air battery
Stanford, CA | Posted on May 30th, 2013
"There have been increasing demands for high-performance, inexpensive and safe batteries for portable electronics, electric vehicles and other energy storage applications," said Hongjie Dai, a professor chemistry at Stanford and lead author of the study. "Metal-air batteries offer a possible low-cost solution."
According to Dai, most attention has focused on lithium-ion batteries, despite their limited energy density (energy stored per unit volume), high cost and safety problems. "With ample supply of oxygen from the atmosphere, metal-air batteries have drastically higher theoretical energy density than either traditional aqueous batteries or lithium-ion batteries," he said. "Among them, zinc-air is technically and economically the most viable option."
Zinc-air batteries combine atmospheric oxygen and zinc metal in a liquid alkaline electrolyte to generate electricity with a byproduct of zinc oxide. When the process is reversed during recharging, oxygen and zinc metal are regenerated.
"Zinc-air batteries are attractive because of the abundance and low cost of zinc metal, as well as the non-flammable nature of aqueous electrolytes, which make the batteries inherently safe to operate," Dai said. "Primary (non-rechargeable) zinc-air batteries have been commercialized for medical and telecommunication applications with limited power density. However, it remains a grand challenge to develop electrically rechargeable batteries, with the stumbling blocks being the lack of efficient and robust air catalysts, as well as the limited cycle life of the zinc electrodes."
Active and durable electrocatalysts on the air electrode are required to catalyze the oxygen-reduction reaction during discharge and the oxygen-evolution reaction during recharge. In zinc-air batteries, both catalytic reactions are sluggish, Dai said.
Recently, his group has developed a number of high-performance electrocatalysts made with non-precious metal oxide or nanocrystals hybridized with carbon nanotubes. These catalysts produced higher catalytic activity and durability in alkaline electrolytes than catalysts made with platinum and other precious metals.
"We found that similar catalysts greatly boosted the performance of zinc-air batteries," Dai said. both primary and rechargeable. "A combination of a cobalt-oxide hybrid air catalyst for oxygen reduction and a nickel-iron hydroxide hybrid air catalyst for oxygen evolution resulted in a record high-energy efficiency for a zinc-air battery, with a high specific energy density more than twice that of lithium-ion technology."
The novel battery also demonstrated good reversibility and stability over long charge and discharge cycles over several weeks. "This work could be an important step toward developing practical rechargeable zinc-air batteries, even though other challenges relating to the zinc electrode and electrolyte remain to be solved," Dai added.
Other authors of the Nature Communications study are Yanguang Li (lead author), Ming Gong, Yongye Liang, Ju Feng, Ji-Eun Kim, Hailiang Wang, Guosong Hong and Bo Zhang of the Stanford Department of Chemistry.
The study was supported by Intel, a Stanford Global Climate and Energy Project exploratory program and a Stinehart/Reed Award from the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy.
This article was written by Mark Shwartz, Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University.
For more information, please click here
Copyright © Stanford University
If you have a comment, please Contact
Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
News and information
Sopping up proteins with thermosponges: Researchers develop novel nanoparticle platform that proves effective in delivering protein-based drugs October 22nd, 2014
Brookhaven Lab Launches Computational Science Initiative:Leveraging computational science expertise and investments across the Laboratory to tackle "big data" challenges October 22nd, 2014
Bipolar Disorder Discovery at the Nano Level: Tiny structures found in brain synapses help scientists better understand disorder October 22nd, 2014
NIST offers electronics industry 2 ways to snoop on self-organizing molecules October 22nd, 2014
Materials for the next generation of electronics and photovoltaics: MacArthur Fellow develops new uses for carbon nanotubes October 21st, 2014
Special UO microscope captures defects in nanotubes: University of Oregon chemists provide a detailed view of traps that disrupt energy flow, possibly pointing toward improved charge-carrying devices October 21st, 2014
Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires October 20th, 2014
Beyond LEDs: Brighter, new energy-saving flat panel lights based on carbon nanotubes - Planar light source using a phosphor screen with highly crystalline single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) as field emitters demonstrates its potential for energy-efficient lighting device October 14th, 2014
NanoTechnology for Defense (NT4D) October 22nd, 2014
Mechanism behind nature's sparkles revealed October 22nd, 2014
TARA Biosystems and Harris & Harris Group Form Company to Improve Safety and Efficacy of New Therapies October 22nd, 2014
Researchers patent a nanofluid that improves heat conductivity October 22nd, 2014
Production of Anticorrosive Chromate Nanocoatings in Iran September 27th, 2014
Teijin Aramid’s carbon nanotube fibers awarded with Paul Schlack prize: New generation super fibers bring wave of innovations to fiber market September 25th, 2014
Next-Gen Luxury RV From Global Caravan Technologies Will Offer MagicView Roof and Windshield Using SPD-SmartGlass Technology From Research Frontiers: Recreational Vehicle Manufacturer Global Caravan Technologies (GCT) Features 28 Square Feet of MagicView™ SPD-SmartGlass September 17th, 2014
Toward making lithium-sulfur batteries a commercial reality for a bigger energy punch September 17th, 2014
Battery Technology/Capacitors/Generators/Piezoelectrics/Thermoelectrics/Energy storage
Super stable garnet ceramics may be ideal for high-energy lithium batteries October 21st, 2014
Graphenea opens US branch October 16th, 2014
NTU develops ultra-fast charging batteries that last 20 years October 14th, 2014
Electrically conductive plastics promising for batteries, solar cells October 10th, 2014