Alcoa and Phinergy have entered into a joint development agreement to further develop Phinergy’s electric vehicle batteries that run on air and aluminum. Announced at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Atlanta, the companies will collaborate on new materials, processes and components to commercialize the aluminum-air battery, which can extend electric vehicle range by 1,000 miles (1,600 km).
“Alcoa’s extensive technical materials expertise, along with our deep roots in bringing new products to market in the automotive industry, were of great interest to Phinergy as its revolutionary aluminum-air battery moves from research to commercialization,” said Dr. Raymond Kilmer, Alcoa’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “Automotive manufacturers are looking for technologies that enable zero-emission cars to travel the same kinds of distances as gasoline-powered cars. The aluminum-air range extender has the potential to meet that challenge.”
“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. “With Phinergy’s technology, and Alcoa’s industrial leadership across both the aluminum value chain and the automotive market, we see an exciting opportunity to help move electric vehicles into the mainstream.”
Phinergy’s aluminum-air battery uses air and water to unleash energy stored in aluminum. According to Phinergy, just one of the 50 aluminum plates in the battery can power a car for approximately 20 miles, extending vehicle range by approximately 1,000 miles. The technology allows an energy density that surpasses conventional battery technologies and creates electric vehicles with travel distances, purchase prices and life-cycle costs that are comparable to fossil-fuel cars.
Alcoa’s team engaged on the project is based at the Alcoa Technical Center located outside of Pittsburgh, which is the largest light-metals research facility in the world.
It seems that the energy density of this material couple is quite high compared to what is on the market today. We even talk about energy per weight higher than 500Wh/kg with this kind of materials. But, what about the power density? Will it be as high as typical Li-ion batteries (roughly 2000 W/kg)? Will it be enough for supporting the higher and higher number of power demanding components?