Zinc-air Flow Batteries

Zinc-air flow batteries store electrical energy in the form of metallic zinc and oxygen present in the atmosphere. During discharge zinc and oxygen combine generating electrical power. Zinc dissolved into the electrolyte is stored in an external tank. During charge electrolyte is pumped back into the cell and zinc is electroplated onto the negative electrode. Oxygen generated at the positive electrode is released back to the atmosphere.

Specific project objectives

This new type of battery relies on abundant, safe and environmentally friendly materials. Adoption of this technology has been limited by low round-trip energy efficiency and short durability.To address these problems the SAMER projects specifically aims to:
  • Develop a new zinc electrode based on electroplating from a circulating electrolyte
  • Develop a new bifunctional air electrode based on non-carbon substrates and low cost catalysts
  • Integrate the new electrodes into a custom built flow cell and determine the optimum operating conditions for energy efficiency and durability
  • Scale-up the electrodes and the flow cell to anticipate failure modes and challenges towards a future energy storage pilot plant