According to MIS-ASIA, researchers at the Key Laboratory of Advanced Ceramics and Processing Technology of the Ministry of Education of Tianjin University and the Tianjin Key Laboratory of Composite Materials and Functional Materials have recently proposed a new design strategy that can improve the performance of zinc-manganese oxide (Zn-MnO2) batteries. They are decoupling the electrolyte inside the cell to achieve optimal redox chemistry on zinc and manganese dioxide electrodes.
Although lithium-ion batteries are currently one of the most widely used rechargeable energy storage systems, they contain volatile organic electrolytes, which significantly reduces their safety.
The most promising alternatives to lithium batteries are batteries based on non-flammable and low-cost water-based electrolytes, such as lead-acid batteries and zinc-manganese batteries. These batteries have many advantages, including more excellent safety and lower production costs. However, so far, their performance, operating voltage and rechargeability have certain limitations compared to lithium batteries.
Researchers have found that their decoupling electrolyte strategy can make Zn-MnO2 cells with an open-circuit voltage of 2.83 V perform better. Considering that the energy of more traditional Zn-MnO2 batteries is usually 1.5V, this result is quite promising.
Using their electrolytic decoupling method, the battery capacity dropped by only 2% after 200 hours of continuous use and charging. Also, the battery can still maintain 100% capacity under various discharge current densities. It is worth noting that researchers have shown that cells made using their method can also be integrated with wind and photovoltaic hybrid power systems, which further improves battery sustainability.
In the future, the new design strategy proposed by Professor Zhong and his colleagues can be used to produce new Zn-MnO2 batteries, which are low cost and safe, but also have incredibly high open-circuit voltage and longer cycle life. It is worth noting that the same strategy can also be used to improve the performance of other zinc-based water batteries, including those containing zinc-copper and zinc-silver compositions.