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Article prepared by CIDETEC researchers is among the most downloaded from “Energy Science and Engineering” magazine in the last two years

18/07/2019

The article “Systematic cycle life assessment of a secondary zinc-air battery as a function of the alkaline electrolyte composition” has been one of the most downloaded in the last two years, according to sources of the journal published by Editorial Willey. This article was one of the most downloaded during the year after its publication, among those published in the period from January 2017 to December 2018. “(The) work had an immediate impact and visibility, contributing significantly to the progress in this field”, said the sources.

The authors of the article, all of them CIDETEC Energy Storage researchers, are Aroa R. Mainar, Elena Iruin, Luis C.Colmenares, J.Alberto Blázquez and Hans-Jürgen Grande, with Aroa Ramos and J.Alberto Blázquez as main authors.

Secondary zinc-air batteries are of great interest, as they have high theoretical energy density (>900 Wh/kg). Despite being a technology studied during the last decades, the first secondary zinc-air prototypes developed to date and based on conventional alkaline aqueous electrolytes have a limited reversibility, which has prevented their commercial implementation.

Most studies carried out on secondary zinc-air batteries have focused on the use of strongly alkaline aqueous electrolytes due to their high ionic conductivity over a wide range of temperatures. The main advantage of this approach is the fact that the anode is composed of a high fraction of zinc metal, which, associated with its high density (7.14 g/cc), could imply in the a priori development of devices with high energy storage capacity, at up to 400 Wh/kg, which is why this technology has been considered for the development of applications in which energy density is a critical parameter. Unfortunately, the alkaline nature of conventional electrolytes causes, on the one hand, high solubility of zinc, which promotes the formation of dendrites and the change of in the shape of the anode, and on the other hand, early corrosion/degradation of the air electrode.

The article, published in the journal’s edition number 2018 6(3), reports for the first time the main causes of the rapid aging of the technology through the analysis of the degradation processes that occur in each one of the battery components. The study concludes that the alkaline nature of the electrolyte and the presence of certain additives have an opposite impact on the durability of the air electrode and the zinc anode. Therefore, balance in the electrolyte formulation is necessary to guarantee a correct reversibility of the system. The study concludes with an advanced electrolyte formulation, which has significantly improved the durability of the system and opens the door to a future implementation of the technology at an industrial level.

The full article can be downloaded at

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ese3.191

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