The EV Project Expands to Texas; Overall Value of Charging Infrastructure Project Now at $230M
Cummins Expanding High-Horsepower Engine Product Line

Leo Motors Exhibits Electric Trucks with Zinc Air Fuel Cell Range Extenders

Leo Motors, Inc. displayed two electric trucks equipped with a new Zinc Air Fuel Cell (ZAFC) system as a range-extender at the EV Korea 2010 Expo. Leo filed for patents on the ZAFC technology in 2008.

Displaying the ZAFC at the show. Click to enlarge.

The refuelable ZAFC oxidizes zinc pellets, generating the power to recharge the Li-ion polymer battery pack. Leo has developed a fuel distribution system for the even distribution of the zinc pellets into the stack. Leo also developed a mechanism to halt power generation when the battery is fully charged, and for collection of the zinc oxide sludge from the stack.

The performance of the ZAFC generator was tested by the Korea Electric Technology Institute, run by the Korea government, Leo said.

The trucks on display were converted from traditional internal combustion engines to EVs. The e-Porter is a one ton, (2,200 lb load) truck, while the e-Labo is a half ton pick-up truck. Leo also exhibited an electric passenger car, motorcycle, utility EV, and five e-scooters at the event.



Funny, I was just reading some updates about zinc air batteries yesterday and was thinking that the power density was too low to provide direct power. They only have about 10kW out of a 100kg pack so power a car directly would require AT LEAST a 300kg battery pack... and it would still be anemic.

But the energy density makes it a great "range extender" for a Lithium pack. At nearly 500Wh/kg, a 100kg pack used as a range extender would give about 250 miles of extra range. If it can be "recharged" with their system quickly, then it might be worth investigating.

Of course, the main drawback is you'd have to have an infrastructure for replacing the sludge but if it's cheap then it could be great for fleet vehicles.


A solution that requires to recycle or regenerate the waste each time you refill the tank is doomed, not practical and too complicated


A solution that doesn't require anything but electricity to regenerate the sludge can be sited anywhere the grid reaches (and may be amenable to stranded RE if it's on the roadway).

The main problem with ZAFCs is the low efficiency of electrolytic regeneration (about 25% end-to-end by my calculations). But if it's only a range extender and not used except for marginal needs, it becomes more efficient than liquid fuels and remains much cleaner.


Rechargeable Zinc/Air could be good for this. You have an energy battery recharging a power battery, each one does what it does best.


Liquid fuels in a range extender would easily reach 40% efficiency and are much easier to handle. The oxydised endproduct can be dumped in the air and renewable electricity can be used to transform CO2 + water to liquids again (or to sequester atmospheric CO2 as long as fossil fuel is used). Storing liquid fuels is much easier and it obviously has a much higher energy-density.
Zinc production (certainly if you need millions of tons)is also limited and not sustainable either. using carbon as a reductans (instead of metals) is completely sustainable because you use carbon from the air and return it to the air. The only point is the source of the carbon (air or fossil), but that is a mather of politics, not of technology.


From the Leo Motors website: "The chronic problem of pure EV’s is that they have limited range. This is why many automakers attempt to develop PHEV. Once Leo’s Zinc Air Fuel Cell (ZAFC) Power Pack is released on the market, automakers will not need ICE engines anymore. Zinc Air Fuel Cell (ZAFC) Generator presents range freedom to pure electric vehicles.
Tiny zinc balls in the ZAFC power pack will supply electricity to the battery. When driving long distances there will be zero emission and gas, vehicle weight will be lighter, and energy efficiency will be increased. Moreover, ZAFC power pack will be more cost-efficient than engine and the cost of zinc balls are very reasonable as well because the sludge from ZAFC power pack (oxidized zinc balls) are common elements found in digital equipments.

Using Leo’s technology, ZAFC evenly feeds zinc balls to each cell, stops and restarts electricity generation depending on the signals sent by the battery and collects sludge (zinc oxide) automatically by the system’s filter. ZAFC generator is affordable and cost efficient than any other power generators because while the energy density of ZAFC is greater than Lithium Polymer Battery, the size of ZAFC generator is smaller than battery power pack or ICE generator.

The materials used in ZAFC generators are not expensive. Thus manufacturing costs are less than 40% of Li-Po battery power packs. The fuels used in ZAFC generator, zinc balls, are much lower priced than petroleum and zinc is one of the most abundant minerals found in the earth. For these reasons, many auto makers and energy developers in the world tried to develop ZAFC generators. As far as we know, only we have been successful in applying this patent technology it outside the lab.
We were successful in creating and applying 3kW ZAFC generators to our electric bikes."

The oxydised endproduct can be dumped in the air and renewable electricity can be used to transform CO2 + water to liquids again
The energy needed to extract CO2 from the air is more than enough to destroy whatever advantages hydrocarbons have, and recycling CO2 to hydrocarbons with electricity is very expensive and lossy. The advantage of zinc is that it isn't lost from the cycle, and reducing it to metal takes much less energy than recovering carbon.

I don't see any significant difference between refilling a zinc fuel cell and refilling a gas tank. The main difference is removing the zinc oxide. It sounds like that is easy. Service stations could be equiped to handle zinc and recycle zinc oxide. It could be done at home too. I get monthly deliveries of fuel oil in the winter. You could could have a month's supply of zinc delivered to your home and store the zinc oxide until the delivery truck makes the monthly visit.


I did an analysis of the zinc inventory required to do something like that, and it would take a LONG time to build the supply to do monthly deliveries to houses. Then again, we have a grid so we don't have to do that. Relatively small amounts for range extension in vehicles is much easier, cheaper and faster.


Zinc air fuel cell refueling does take infrastructure and Zinc air battery recharging does not. The Swiss are working on a rechargeable zinc air battery and if it works, this could be THE range extender.


Battery charging will also require infrustructure. We are seeing this now - Mayor Bloomberg proudly showing off a new charging station in New York. The problem is that people won't be satisfied with four-hour charging. They will want ten minute charging. 25 kwh battery charging in 10 minutes will rquire 25 kwh/.1h = 25 kw. Charging stations will need their own substation, which power companies will be glad to install. No scientific breakthrough rquired, but infrustructure is required.


Correction 25 kwh/.1h = 250 kw - a large amount of power.

I wish we could edit these comments for a few minutes after posting them. I've seen this capability on some other web sites.


This company already has a working Zinc Air Fuel Cell system on a vehicle. How many vehicles have silicon nanowire cells or MIT's ultrafast Li-Ion cells. None! The ZAFC cost only 40% as much as Lithium Polymer Batteries to manufacture and the ZAFC has double the energy capacity (~ 450 wh/kg) than the best Li-Ions. The ZAFC is smaller than an equivalent ICE range extender and doesn't need an exhaust system, radiator, etc. The MIT ultrafast charging cells have greatly reduced capacities at fast charge rates, same as Altairnano's Lithium Titanate batteries. The ZAFC can charge as fast as you can replace the Zinc Oxide with Zinc, probably just a few minutes with some kind or canister or cassette.

Zinc is much more plentiful than Lithium and is not hazardous like gasoline. An infrastructure for transporting zinc and zinc oxide would not be complex. You might be able to process the zinc oxide at home with grid or solar electric power, thereby eliminating much of the infrustructure. Taxis, delivery trucks, rental cars, etc would need zinc refill stations.


The only requirement for a zinc air rechargeable battery is a plug at home. When you have 150 mile range with zinc air batteries and Lithium Ion for power, a lot of people may not need charge stations.


The other requirement for a rechargeable is it has to be big enough to give your full daily range needs, because you need hours to recharge it. A refillable ZAFC can be a lot smaller because you can replenish it as required.

This looks like it could be a contest between ZAFC recycling stations and Better Place battery-swapping stations. The ZAFC seems to be more flexible. Whatever, competition is a good thing!


With lithium air or zinc air, the batteries would be small and light enough that you would not need a fork lift to replace them. It would be like taking luggage out of the trunk.


Not likely. I calculated how much zinc it would take to replace gasoline a while back. My figures came to about the same volume as the gas tank, but many times the weight. If people have trouble lifting a 5-gallon gas can, they will need a crane for the equivalent zinc-air cell.


If the metal air battery has 1 kWh per kg and you want 20 kWh, that is 44 pounds of battery. People routinely lift 2 1/2 gallon water jugs at the store weighing 20 pounds.

The comments to this entry are closed.