The battery in a gas-guzzling car is usually a lead-acid device and the battery in a laptop is lithium-ion. The different chemistries offer unique advantages and disadvantages which make them more or less suitable for each application, which is why the industry prefers one type over another.
With grid-level storage just entering widespread use, that level of learning has not yet been made so developers still have to take car deciding which type of battery to use and researchers from China’s Tianjin University have attempted to help them.
The group examined lead-acid, lithium-ion, zinc-air, nickel/metal-hydrogen and sodium-sulfur batteries to assess their properties in terms of round-trip efficiency, specific energy and capacity, operating voltage, cycling life, self-discharge performance, cost, environmental impact and safety.
Leading the pack, according to the resulting study, were zinc-air batteries. In their findings, the researchers noted zinc-air devices had relatively high specific energy and capacity. With the chemistry based on zinc electrodes and free-oxygen fuel from the atmosphere, such devices also scored highly on cost, safety and eco-friendliness.
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