Rechargeable batteries are a highly efficient means for storing energy. For battery-electric cars, lithium-ion and similar battery systems allow high drive ranges and short charging times. However, their use within the automotive sector is constrained mainly by high costs, a limited service life and safety issues. A new concept provides an alternative, in the form of a zinc-air battery. The necessary oxygen for discharging the cell is provided by the surrounding air. This leads to significant weight savings and the high, specific energy of this battery type.
The aim of the project is to create zinc-air batteries that are redesigned to have an extended life span, as well as increased cycle stability and a higher number of rechargeable cycles for the intermediate storage of electrical energy. For this purpose, new innovative materials are being tested and optimized towards the specific needs of zinc-air batteries.
In the project new, improved materials and production processes for the rechargeable zinc-air battery have been developed. Thus, the cycle stability was increased which can be seen as the basis for the successful and commercial use of this battery type. The existing infrastructure at TU Graz and the measuring equipment have been adjusted and renewed for this battery type. New zinc oxide electrodes and air electrodes have been designed and manufactured. The use of carbon nanofibers, which are highly resistant against oxidation, led both the anode and the cathode to higher conductivities and higher service lives. The use of solid electrolytes has been studied and evaluated. Based on the prototype, the production process of the small series cell was developed. Afterwards, these cells were taken into operation. Based on the research and the developed prototypes the company “Panergy” discussed concepts and opportunities for the continuation of their successful cooperation with international partners.