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ZAS Report Summary

Project ID: 646186
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ZAS (Zinc Air Secondary innovative nanotech based batteries for efficient energy storage)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reach the commitments made by the EU it is necessary to rapidly increase the use of renewable energy sources. In this context, installation of high capacity energy storage systems is crucial. However, the present cost and technical solutions of such storage systems are insufficient. In order to develop a cost effective and sustainable solutions for energy storage, research on advanced materials, components and systems have to be carried out, as well as demonstrating their potential in electrical storage units.
The overall objective of ZAS is to develop a rechargeable zinc-air battery system for efficient and cost effective stationary energy storage. The new battery system is expected to have an energy density higher than 160 Wh/kg and 260 Wh/L, while at the same time the reversibility exceeds 1000 cycles. In addition, ZAS will provide a system that performs safely at a cost lower than 250 €/kWh.

If ZAS succeeds, the project will contribute to faster implementation of cost effective next generation electricity storage systems and ensure that competence crucial for building the next generation of electricity storage systems remains in European research organisations and industry.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Work performed and main results achieved in ZAS:

Materials development:
• Optimized electrolyte composition for alkaline system that resulted in enhanced Zn cyclabilty. Optimization of electrolyte for neutral/acidic system ongoing.
• Screening of oxide based catalysts for bi-functional electrode (cathode). Promising candidate identified for both alkaline and neutral/acidic system.

Testing of Zinc-air battery cell:
• Optimization and testing of bifunctional air electrodes based on the most promising catalysts.
• Optimization and testing of Zn-anode.
• Design and testing of full cell configuration. ~100 discharge/charge cycles obtained both for alkaline electrolyte system (25 cm2 cell) and neutral electrolyte system (1.3 cm2 cell).

Modeling and simulations:
• Conducted 2D and 3D simulations on tomographic reconstructions of Ag model gas diffusion electrodes.
• Establish a 1D continuum model of both alkaline and neutral/acidic zinc-air battery, both for large prismatic cells and small button cells.
• Density functional theory (DFT) calculations is used to identify promising catalyst materials for the cathode and to investigate the role of alloying elements in the Zn-anode.

Industrial applications of the ZAS module:
• Identification of test procedures and operating conditions of zinc-air battery modules.
• Cost assessment of materials, electrodes and unit cells for industrial size battery units
• An initial economic analysis of different alternatives for energy storage technology hybridization, e.g. ZAS battery with Li ion batteries or Supercapacitors
• LCA calculation has started and boundary of the study has been established.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Progress beyond the state of the art in ZAS:
• Identified alternative bifunctional catalyst that can work without a conducting agent in both alkaline and neutral electrolytes.
• Developed a new process for agglomeration of Zn nano-particles.
• Improved the understanding of the role of the alloying elements in the Zn anode using DFT calculations.
• Developed a 1D continuum model of both alkaline and neutral/acidic zinc-air battery that actively has been used for optimization of test cell design and operation conditions. Identified limitation of Zn-air batteries related to e.g. charge/discharge rate v anode thickness.
• Developed a prismatic test cell that allows for shape change of electrodes during the charge and discharge processes.
• Have identified two application scenarios (backup and load shifting) in which the ZAS battery in in a hybrid solution could show significant benefit compared to alternative energy storage systems.By using zinc-air in a hybrid storage systems for load shifting initial calculation indicates that the system costs can be reduced with up to 50%.

Expected potential impacts:
• The lower cost of a hybrid storage systems containing zinc-air batteries will lower the barrier for implementing energy storage systems into the grid. This will make it possible to increase the penetration of intermittent and decentralized renewable sources and reduce our demand for fossil energy production.

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