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ExtremeTech » Aluminium-air battery can power electric vehicles for 1,000 miles, will come to production cars in 2017

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Phinergy, an Israeli startup, has demonstrated an aluminium-air battery that is capable of powering an electric vehicle for up to 1,000 miles (1,609km). Unlike other metal-air batteries that we’ve written about in the past, such as IBM’s lithium-air battery, Phinergy’s Al-air battery actually consumes aluminium as a fuel, allowing for an energy density that far surpasses conventional battery technologies and even begins to rival gas and diesel. Phinergy says it has signed a contract with a global automaker for “production volumes” of the battery, starting in 2017.

Metal-air batteries aren’t a new idea. Zinc-air is a very well understood battery chemistry that is used in hearing aids, and potentially inother biological implants. IBM is busy working on a lithium-air battery that, like Phinergy’s battery, is also targeted at long-range electric vehicles. In recent months, it has emerged that sodium-air might also be a viable battery chemistry. In all three cases, it is the air component that makes these batteries so desirable. In a conventional battery, the chemical reaction is entirely internal, which is why batteries tend to be very dense and heavy. In a metal-air battery, energy is produced by the oxidization of a metal — lithium, zinc, aluminium — with the oxygen coming from the air around us, rather than being stored in the battery, resulting in a much lighter battery.



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