Zinc-air batteries may catch a big break with strategic manufacturing partnership

August 16, 2022 | Case Study

The long-duration energy storage (LDES) space has been increasingly active thanks to government grants, renewed focus on materials sustainability, and an evolving grid with greater storage demand. Much of the focus has trended towards new flow battery installations and renewed interest in large-scale mechanical energy storage systems. Zinc-air batteries have remained below the radar, owing in part to the relatively low commercial readiness level compared to other electrochemical systems. The technology uses relatively low-cost materials, and some designs can even offer power and energy decoupling like flow batteries; however, zinc-air batteries are plagued by a low cycle life due to zinc dendrite formation at the anode and low coulombic efficiencies at the air cathode. Despite these issues, they offer an attractive levelized cost of storage for long-duration applications at 10 hours and beyond, especially for smaller systems. E-Zinc, a zinc-air battery startup from Toronto, Canada, is targeting those specific applications to build a steady deployment history. Most recently, the company announced it would deploy a system with Toyota Tsusho Canada — a strategic partnership that if sucessful could lead to more widespread deployment of its zinc-air batteries.

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