A European Union (EU) - funded research project will this month start developing a prototype polymer-zinc car battery, significantly lighter, safer and more environment-friendly than existing batteries.
Their lead acid, lithium and nickel bases have waste disposal, weight and chemical stability problems. They can also be slow to charge and sometimes unsafe. However, by using zinc and conducting polymers, the €3.5m PolyZion project wants to make electric cars more competitive by making their batteries lighter, more powerful, easier to recharge, sustainable, lower cost, air-and-moisture insensitive and longer lasting.
Research participant, the University of Leicester, predicts the global market for EV and hybrid EVs will exceed USD2 billion by 2015.
Consortium researchers from Russia and Canada as well as western Europe, are pulling together cutting edge science such as improving the battery-related properties of ionic liquids, developing rechargeable zinc electrodes and creating ultra-fast pulse charge injection techniques.
As regards, the use of conductive polymers a consortium note said it had “developed and tested conducting polymer anode materials together with underlying substrates and protocols for deposition of suitable morphology and electrochemical properties…” In combination with the reversible zinc cathode, this would create “a completely new type of rechargeable cell.” Another benefit of using the polymers is that the batteries would not require heavy protective casing.
Battery company Celaya Emparanza y Galdos (Cegasa) of Spain, will make the prototype for testing by early 2012. The University of Leicester’s Dr Karl S Ryder said: “Our work is aimed at developing an exciting and totally new battery technology that is light-weight and environmentally sustainable as well as both effective and safe.”
British technology company C-Tech Innovation, Spanish materials research group Fundacion CIDETEC, energy firm KEMA Nederland, French materials specialists Rescoll, Portugal’s University of Porto, Russia’s AE Favorsky Irkutsk Institute of Chemistry and Canada’s Institute de Recherche d’Hydro-Québec are collaborating.