Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have decoded the workings of zinc-manganese and they found a way to dramatically improve batteries without raising costs. It maybe the result for a new cost-effective battery that can boost large-scale energy storage.
Poor energy storage remains the key problem in adoption of solar and wind energies, where current batteries are not capable of holding enough energy during peak times to compensate lower energy production like at night when the wind dies down.
Since zinc-manganese energy storage isn’t new, but previous testing found that the batteries lost its ability to hold a charge over time. Researchers found out that it was the result of a process called intercalation, occurs with lithium-ion batteries. But the recent study for zinc-manganese batteries store energy through chemical conversion, like lead-acid batteries, with a great chance to improve storage.
“This research shows equilibrium needs to be controlled during a chemical conversion reaction to improve zinc-manganese oxide battery performance,” says Jun Liu, a PNNL Laboratory Fellow and co-author of the study.
And the best part of the study is that Zinc-Manganese batteries are more affordable and the materials are abundant.