The theoretical capacity of zinc-air batteries five times higher than lithium-ion. They are much cheaper, more environmentally friendly and much safer. However, zinc-air batteries are not used as widely, and with good reason. The fact that the electricity they produced by the reaction of zinc and oxygen, and to extract the last of the air need of expensive catalysts.
Zinc-air batteries are used today in hearing AIDS, film cameras premium in electronics on the railroad. Technological obstacles to using them in other areas no, the problem is purely economic. For their work requires expensive catalysts based on platinum or iridium. However, researchers from the University of Sydney devised a three-step process of replacing their junk raw materials.
Bifunctional oxygen catalysts for zinc-air batteries can be made of crystals of oxides of Nickel, cobalt or iron by carefully controlling their size, shape and composition. Instead of the usual, natural substances to create man-made granules with the specified parameters. Testing conducted by Professor yuan by Chan showed that the battery with this “substitute” is capable of repeated recharging.
With cobalt, there may be some problems, due to its relevance in the components of electric cars, but Nickel and iron are extremely common and very cheap. However, and are not working as effectively after 60 recharge cycles, the battery with the new catalyst showed a decrease in effectiveness by 10 %. However, even this result allows us to hope that the key problem of promising zinc-air battery will be resolved.
Source — University of Sydney