Alcoa and Phinergy show electric car with aluminum-air battery

Jun 09, 2014 by Nancy Owano weblog
The car powered by the aluminum-air battery technology at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal.

An electric car equipped with an aluminum-air battery system developed by two companies, Phinergy and Alcoa, made its track debut earlier this month. The car performed at Montreal's Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. The event showcased the technology collaboration effort of the two companies to deliver an air-battery system that can support an electric car's journey over greater distances. Phinergy is focused on developing zero-emissions, high energy-density systems based on metal-air energy technologies. The company's work involves aluminum-air and zinc-air batteries. The two companies worked on materials, processes and components, with the goal to commercialize the aluminum-air battery. When used to supplement a lithium-ion battery, the battery can extend the range of an electric car by about 1,600 kilometers (994 miles). This is to draw interest because the limited range possible with many lithium battery systems requiring recharging has been a drawback, motivating technologists to look at next generation solutions.

"Electric vehicle adoption has been slowed by the limited range of regular batteries, causing what is commonly known as 'range anxiety'," said Aviv Tzidon, CEO of Phinergy. Drivers who otherwise concur with the need for cleaner transport may hesitate to make extended road trips with electric vehicles, not sure if they would easily access the required infrastructure of fast-charging stations along their travel routes. "Automakers want technologies that enable zero-emission to travel distances that compete with gasoline-powered cars. The aluminum-air has the potential to meet that challenge using fully recyclable material with no CO2 emissions," said Martin Briere, President of Alcoa Canada. Briere said that Alcoa and Phinergy looked forward to collaborating with the Quebec government to advance the technology and potential development of the aluminum-air battery in the province.

The aluminum-air battery uses air and water to unlock the energy stored in aluminum. Phinergy said just one of the 50 aluminum plates in the battery can power a car for approximately 20 miles. Car owners would only need to refill the aluminum air battery with tap water every month or two as a recharge, to support the chemical reaction.

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Alcoa-Phinergy electric car demonstration at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve

According to the CBC, "Because the car would still rely on its regular rechargeable lithium-ion battery most of the time and would switch to the aluminum-air battery as a backup only if the lithium-ion battery ran out, and because most trips are 50 kilometers or less, Alcoa estimates the aluminum-air batteries would only need to be changed about once a year."

The publicity release stated that "The technology allows an energy density that surpasses conventional battery technologies and creates with travel distances, purchase prices and life-cycle costs that are comparable to fossil-fuel cars."

Explore further: Battery design could reduce electric car weight

More information: Alcoa press release: www.alcoa.com/canada/en/news/r… es/2014_phinergy.asp

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User comments : 12

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baudrunner
1.4 / 5 (9) Jun 09, 2014
Costly regular replacements of the anodes. Manufacturers are hoping that these batteries will rarely be needed if they are to act as a supplement to lithium batteries, otherwise the cost of replacing the anodes every 2,000 km is an obstacle to the batteries replacing lithium ones. Furthermore, aluminum oxide is highly carcinogenic. If these batteries become ubiquitous we will see increases in cancer rates, guaranteed.
ormondotvos
5 / 5 (6) Jun 09, 2014
Sounds like a FUD comment from a paid troll. Look up aluminum oxide.

http://www.ncbi.n...2782734/
howhot2
4 / 5 (4) Jun 09, 2014
Actually it's not FUD. I did some work on Al + air batteries and they are real. They are easy to demonstrate. Take an Al plate, sandwich it in a damp carbon sponge and some sort of contact plate like graphite. It works wonders and goes forever as long as the carbon sponge is damp. Blow air through the sponge and it would improve the current. That was our initial design. A gallium layer sandwiched between the carbon sponge and Al would have improved it's design.

I always thought that the Al+air battery could be a electric car power source and it's good to see someone else thinks so. I hope to see it in the market soon. With global warming this is an excellent way to fight CO2 pollution.

howhot2
5 / 5 (6) Jun 09, 2014
Furthermore, aluminum oxide is highly carcinogenic. If these batteries become ubiquitous we will see increases in cancer rates, guaranteed.


You better put your coke cans away, aluminum foil and all of the other eating utensils made of Aluminum away because if chances are there is a nice coating of Al-O on the surface where the Al has oxidized. Heck, I bet your mother had an Al fry pan.

Given cancer rates, and electric car doesn't produce any air pollution (even powered by Al-air) so there is very little chance of some BS troll claim against Al-O as a byproduct of a rechargeable battery system.

tekram
5 / 5 (4) Jun 10, 2014
Exposure to aluminium oxide (dust; Total dust levels were in the range of 0.1-1.0 mg/m3).
"No significant increase was found in total mortality, cancer mortality, or incidence of non-malignant respiratory diseases."
http://www.ncbi.n.../3814536
betterexists
not rated yet Jun 10, 2014
Now Mail Boxes are moving out to the corners of the streets soon.
Technology is moving fast. Add to this Solar Streets. Postal dept. can turn into Amazon-Like Dept.
In such a case, Postal dept should send out Giant Trucks with Mail & (Automatically Refrigerator-) Ordered Food & Other goods to deposit in Compartmentally Frozen Mail-Boxes.
Obviously, that will be a Sky-Scaper like System/Unit including Cranes & Lifts.

It should recognize the Visitor & move his Daily stuff into his SUV.
No limit to Energy-use, Tech use, Software/Brain use!
WOW! WOW!
betterexists
5 / 5 (1) Jun 10, 2014
Now Mail Boxes are moving out to the corners of the streets soon.
Technology is moving fast. Add to this Solar Streets. Postal dept. can turn into Amazon-Like Dept.
In such a case, Postal dept should send out Giant Trucks with Mail & (Automatically Refrigerator-) Ordered Food & Other goods to deposit in Compartmentally Frozen Mail-Boxes.
Obviously, that will be a Sky-Scraper like System/Unit including Cranes & Lifts.

It should recognize the Visitor & move his Daily stuff into his SUV.
No limit to Energy-use, Tech use, Software/Brain use!
WOW! WOW!

That Skyscraper like System Can MOVE UNDERGROUND TOO!
holoman
1 / 5 (1) Jun 12, 2014
I HATE BATTERIES PERIOD !

They always fail at the most important times.
baudrunner
1 / 5 (1) Jun 12, 2014
Given cancer rates, and electric car doesn't produce any air pollution (even powered by Al-air) so there is very little chance of some BS troll claim against Al-O as a byproduct of a rechargeable battery system.
It's not actually a rechargeable system. Aluminum oxide is not aluminum, it is aluminum oxide, often used as a catalyst in chemical reactions and highly carcinogenic. Anodes in this battery collect oxide deposits during use to the point that they need expensive replacement after 2,000 km. People working in environments doing that will be at greater risk, I don't care what you think.
jumojack
not rated yet Jun 13, 2014
No actual data on these "breakthrough" batteries?
I know previous version had just a few recharging cycles available (dozens)!
What's new now?
We need at least 50 cycles for a 1000 km battery for it to be useful on cars.
Sikla
Jun 13, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
jumojack
not rated yet Jun 13, 2014
ops, forgot subscribing...
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Jun 13, 2014
Sounds like a viable technology if you have a reliable indicator how much is left in your Al battery (which shouldn't be too hard).
Coupled with some standardization and ability to switch out at 'gas' stations that could solve a lot of issues (gas station attendants/mechanics could make a comeback).

People working in environments doing that will be at greater risk

Do you think the battery will be open? Heck, people working in an environment where lead/acid batteries are open would be at risk (or gas tanks for that matter). However, we have something called 'closed' batteries/gas tanks. And for some reason that does seem to solve the toxicity issue n'est-ce pas?