EU funded project developing fast rechargeable zinc-polymer battery for hybrid and small electric vehicles
An EU consortium is two years into a 3-year, €3.5 million (US$5 million) research project to create a new class of fast rechargeable zinc-polymer batteries for hybrid and small electric vehicle applications. The PolyZion (Fast rechargeable zinc-polymer battery based on ionic liquids) received funding of €2.4 million (US$3.4 million) under the Energy Theme of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).
The research program combines fundamental material and process advances in ionic liquids, rechargeable zinc electrodes, ultra-fast pulse charge injection techniques and conducting polymers, as well as constructing prototypes battery units for industry standard testing. The resulting battery device is intended to be low cost, have low environmental impact and have the energy and power density necessary to compete will alternative battery technologies in the hybrid and EV markets.
This research involves the development of a new class of fast rechargeable batteries based on a zinc-plastic system incorporating a novel, inexpensive, environmentally sustainable solvent. This approach is necessitated by the problems associated with petrol and diesel powered vehicles, such as environmental impact, rising fuel prices, the looming shortage of oil and the limitations of batteries available for electric vehicles.—Claire Fullarton, a researcher from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Leicester
The PolyZion project brings together a new low-cost, air and moisture insensitive and environmentally sustainable class of electrolytes (ionic liquids) together with nano-structured zinc deposits and novel ultra-fast charging conducting polymers. The team says the resulting battery device will have the energy and power density necessary to compete with alternative battery technologies. The project will also construct prototype battery units for industry standard testing.
The consortium is made up of partners from Spain, France, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom, as well as Canada and Russia. The project is also based on strong collaboration between academia and industry, with both small and medium enterprise partners with specialized knowledge on specific materials, and large industrial partners well versed in battery manufacturing coming together to share best practices.
This is an exciting new project aimed at exploring and developing new energy storage technologies for a range of power applications but focused particularly on electric vehicles. The problem with many electric cars is that the battery technology is often quite heavy and needs frequent recharging. Newer technologies such as lithium ion are very good but are quite expensive and surrounded by serious safety concerns...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.—Dr Karl S Ryder, University of Leicester
The institutions and organizations involved with the project are: University of Leicester, C-Tech Innovation, Fundacion CIDETEC, Celaya Emparanza y Galdos SA (Cegasa), University of Porto, KEMA Nederland BV, AE Favorsky Irkutsk Institute of Chemistry, Institute de Recherche d’Hydro-Québec, Rescoll.