Rechargeable Zinc-Air Battery Company Approved to Receive $6.8M in Loans and Tax Credits from the State of Oregon and City of Portland
ReVolt Technology, LLC, a company that is developing rechargeable zinc-air batteries (earlier post), has been approved to receive a package of loans and tax credits from Oregon and Portland authorities totaling approximately $6.8 million, including support from the Oregon Department of Energy’s Small Scale Energy Loan Program (SELP), which is intended to promote energy conservation and renewable energy resource development.
Upon final closing, the SELP funding and incentives will further enhance ReVolt’s research and development work in a public-private partnership producing advanced battery systems for electric vehicles.
ReVolt has selected a site in Portland’s Airport Way Urban Renewal Area to serve as its headquarters and expects to begin battery development and HQ operations there in October, supporting approximately 150 jobs between 2010 and 2015.
ReVolt says that the $6.8 million in funding support from Oregon, combined with the $5 million in federal funding from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) (earlier post), will support its North American business development efforts. Under ARPA-E’s “Batteries for Electrical Energy Storage in Transportation” (BEEST) program, ReVolt will develop a powerful, safe and environmentally-sustainable rechargeable zinc-air battery system for electric vehicle applications.
Using zinc, a globally-abundant industrial mineral, ReVolt’s rechargeable batteries offer superior energy performance—up to triple the energy density of lithium-ion, according to the company—at a significantly lower price. ReVolt’s durable zinc-air batteries pose zero heat and volatility risks during operation, making them well-suited for many vehicle applications prioritizing safety and performance. When fully depleted, the batteries degrade into environmentally-benign compounds.
Metal-air electrochemical cells use an anode made from metals such as zinc (Zn), aluminium (Al), magnesium (Mg), iron (Fe), lithium (Li) or vanadium (V) and a cathode made from a porous structure with catalytic properties for the oxygen reaction. An alkaline electrolyte maintains high ionic conductivity between the two electrodes. A separator between the anode and cathode prevents short circuits.
Discharging the metal-air cells entails the conversion of oxygen from the atmosphere to hydroxyl ions in the air electrode. The hydroxyl ions then migrate to the metal electrode, where they cause the metal contained in the electrode to oxidize.
Charging of metal-air cells converts hydroxyl ions to oxygen in the air electrode, releasing electrons. On the metal electrode the metal oxides or ions are reduced to form the metal while electrons are consumed.
ReVolt’s technology developments include placement of the zinc (microscopic localization) on the anode; humidity management in the cell; and a bi-functional air-electrode. In a bi-functional air electrode, both the oxygen reduction and oxygen evolution reactions occur.
Revolt is backed by financial and strategic investors including Northzone Ventures, RWE Innogy, SINTEF, Sofinnova Partners, TVM Capital, Verdane Capital and Viking Venture.