A CDE Definition
A battery technology that provides more charge per pound or size than nickel cadmium or nickel metal hydride without suffering from the memory effect. It uses a carbon membrane that absorbs oxygen, a zinc plate and potassium hydroxide as the electrolyte. The technology dates back to the 1920s, when large batteries were used for remote railroad switches and lights on harbor buoys.
Air causes the chemical reaction and must be allowed into the cell when current is required and kept out when not. Thus, zinc air batteries are designed for continuous use. For example, when used for hearing aids, once activated, the zinc air battery continuously discharges.
The pioneer in air management technology was AER Energy Resources Inc. AER's Diffusion Air Manager provided an economical method for getting air in and out, but the company closed its doors in 2003 after more than a decade of development. Used extensively in the military, security and transportation sectors, a leading producer of zinc air batteries is the Electric Fuel division of Arotech (www.electric-fuel.com). See batteries.
Keeping the Air Out
Following is a summary of the characteristics of popular battery technologies. For more details, see lead acid, nickel cadmium, nickel metal hydride, lithium ion, lithium polymer, liquid metal battery, zinc air, CMOS battery and memory effect.
CHARACTERISTICS OF RECHARGEABLE BATTERIES
Energy Cycles Fast charge
Density To 80% Charge Per
Type (Wh/Kg)* Capacity (hrs) Month
Cadmium 45-80 1500 1 20%
Hydride 60-120 300-500 2-4 30%
Ion 110-160 300-500 2-4 10%
Polymer 100-130 300-500 2-4 10%
Lead Acid 30-50 200-300 8-16 5%
Alkaline 80 50 2-3 0.3%
Data courtesy of
Cadex Electronics Inc. (www.cadex.com).
* Wh/Kg = watt hours per kilogram
A Lot of Batteries
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