New battery technology has been developed and it could be possible that its implementation could reduce the cost of electric cars. That would also mean that new technology could make batteries cheaper in general and that would affect the industry and economy in many different ways.
Australian researchers from the University of Adelaide signed an A$1 million research contract with a Chinese battery manufacturer. Within 12 months, the sponsor expects that researchers do their thing, develop new technology and bring it to market. In order to complete this project, the scientists will need lots of non-toxic zinc and manganese, two metals that Australia is filled with.
Also, they will need an incombustible aqueous electrolyte if they want to create a battery with a high-energy-density.
This new Zn-Mn battery should be much cheaper than current Li-ion or Ni-Fe batteries. For example, an average Zn-Mn battery would cost less than US$ 10 per kWh while Li-Ion is priced US$ 300 per kWh. Ni-Fe battery cost US$ 72 per kWh and Lead-acid battery is priced US$ 48 per kWh.
This new battery is designed by two scientists from the University of Adelaide – Dr. Dongiang Chao and Professor Shi-Zhiang Qiao. This new battery opens up a completely new market, a place where battery size, weight and safety and crucial factors to its quality. It could be implemented everywhere with a low cost to it. Chao says that this is not the only Zn-Mn battery on the market, there is the dry cell. But, according to Chao, a dry cell could not be recharged or reused and it could not reach the maximum power of his project battery.
“I can imagine this battery being used on all vehicle types from small scooters to even diesel-electric trains. Also in homes that need batteries to store solar power or even large solar/wind farms,” he said.
“With more sustainable energy being produced – such as through wind and solar farms – storing this energy in batteries in a safe, non-expensive and environmentally sound way is becoming more urgent but current battery materials – including lithium, lead and cadmium – are expensive, hazardous and toxic.
“Our new electrolytic battery technology uses the non-toxic zinc and manganese and incombustible aqueous electrolyte to produce a battery with a high energy density.”
The project was started by Dr. Chao and Professor Qiao about a year ago in South Australia. At the beginning of this year, they patented the technology. Seeing their unwavering will and diligent work, Chinese battery manufacturer Zhuoyeu Power New Energy Ltd (they produce lead-based batteries) signed a deal with two inventors to develop a new product, enhanced by innovative technology.
The research will take place in Adelaide, Australia while the manufacturing will be done in both China and “The Land Down Under”.
Dr. Chao plans to combine his innovations and the company’s existing technologies to produce something new.
“In addition, the battery uses basic materials and simple manufacturing processes so will be much cheaper to produce and easier to recycle than existing batteries of comparable energy density,” Dr. Chao said.
Before Joining The University of Adelaide, Dr. Chao worked at the University of California in L.A. He obtained his Ph.D. from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.