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PowerGenix enters micro-hybrid market with Nickel-Zinc batteries
17 May 2011
|PowerGenix NiZn micro-hybrid prototype. Click to enlarge.|
PowerGenix, a manufacturer of high-performance, rechargeable Nickel-Zinc (NiZn) batteries (earlier post), has entered the burgeoning micro-hybrid electric vehicle market with its first production prototype product. PowerGenix has begun engineering qualification activities for the new battery with several automotive OEMs and will be fielding demonstration vehicles later this year.
PowerGenix’s NiZn batteries can offer several advantages over the lead-acid batteries found in current micro-hybrids (start-stop systems). NiZn batteries are half the size and weight of lead-acid batteries, provide better charge acceptance and have a much longer lifespan. These performance advantages mean that NiZn batteries reduce vehicle weight and handle more start-stop events over a longer sustained life, significantly raising micro-hybrid fuel efficiency.
NiZn batteries also offer a single solution, powering all starting and micro-hybrid functions.
|Comparison of lead-acid and NiZn batteries for micro-hybrid applications|
|Nominal capacity||60 Ah||40 Ah|
|Pack energy||720 Wh||512 Wh|
|Gravimetric Energy Density||35 Wh/kg||69 Wh/kg|
|Bare pack weight||20.6 kg||7.4 kg|
The micro-hybrid pack is in a 8S1P configuration, and offers a discharge current of 400A continuous, 800A pulse. Operating temperature range is -30°C to 75°C, and internal impedance is <1mΩ per cell.
Early NiZn batteries (first developed in the 1920s) suffered from short cycle life due to dendrite growth leading to short circuiting, caused by the high solubility of zinc oxide—a discharge product of the zinc anode in the alkaline electrolyte. In addition to dendrite formation, zinc oxide solubility can result in shape change and densification of the anode on repeated charge/discharge cycles.
The basis of PowerGenix’s approach to making its NiZn battery commercially viable is a patented electrolyte formulation that reduces zinc solubility and prevents the dendrite shorting and shape changing problems. Further enhancement of cell capability is due to cathode and anode materials that are free of any heavy metal elements.
Micro-hybrids are about to become a fact of life in the auto industry. Within four years, almost two out of five new cars sold globally will be micro-hybrids—we’re talking about over fifteen million micro-hybrid cars per year. Since Nickel-Zinc uniquely hits the sweet spot of cost and performance for micro-hybrids, we see this as a phenomenal growth area for PowerGenix.—Dan Squiller, CEO of PowerGenix
In China and other markets, vehicle makers will depend on micro-hybrid offerings to meet the new fleet fuel efficiency standards, so they’re scouring the globe for a battery solution that can meet the demanding performance and cost requirements of start-stop systems. Nickel-Zinc meets these requirements and can drive help drive the sales of millions of vehicles in Asia and elsewhere.—Dr. Xu Gang, PowerGenix’s managing director for Asia
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