Aluminium-air battery can power EVs for 1,600km

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Citroen has tested an aluminium-air battery in an electric car and claims it can travel 1,000 miles using this type of extended-range EV technology.

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CleanTechnica

I don’t want to get your hopes up too much, but… Citroen has tested an aluminium-air battery in an electric car and the claims are that it can travel 1,000 miles with this innovation!

This is not a range of 1,000 miles per charge, but this is a type of extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) technology.

The car has lithium-ion batteries that enable it to travel 100 miles per charge, and if the driver needs to make rare trips that are longer than 100 miles, she or he can use the aluminium-air batteries to travel an additional 1,000 miles or so.

The aluminium-air batteries (from Phinergy) are not rechargeable in the conventional sense, however. They have to be refilled with distilled water every 200 miles.

The aluminium-air batteries are strictly for backup. If you want to make long trips often, these batteries should not be used. They just prevent stranding, and facilitate occasional long trips. This is because these batteries’ aluminium electrodes are depleted with use. They have to be replaced more often than conventional EV batteries.

The aluminium-air batteries have an energy density 100 times greater than that of today’s lithium-ion batteries, and they are also lighter than backup gasoline-fueled generators.

The aluminium-air battery bank (pack) weighs only 55 pounds. Each of the aluminium plates in this battery pack can power the car for 20 miles, and the test car has 50 of those plates (50 plates x 20 miles = 1,000 miles).

From an environmental standpoint, there is the possibility that the environmental impact of mining the aluminium to replace these non-rechargeable batteries might outweigh the benefits of it. I’m not aware if that has yet been studied, but I know that the process of mining and preparing alumina (this is what aluminium comes from) is very energy intensive.

Rechargeable aluminium-air batteries would be amazing, though, wouldn’t they?

This article was originally published on CleanTechnica. Reproduced with permission
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12 Comments
  1. Steve w 7 years ago

    so if it cant be recharged in place, can it be exchanged as per the better place system? And how much distilled water needs to be added? Car air-conds produce a modest amount by de-humidifying air, would that be enough?

  2. Dave 7 years ago

    On the other hand, it need not be freshly mined aluminum as aluminum is easily recycled and pretty readily available as recycled product with much less energy used to recycle aluminum than is used to make virgin aluminum from alumina. Thus the potential energy net cost might be much lower.

    • Peter 7 years ago

      You can’t use recycled product in the financial and energy equations for mass deoyed technology. If every car on the planet had 20kg of Aluminium battery, well lets just say that’s a lot of soft drink…

      I’m assuming the battery oxidises aluminium to release energy – question is whether the oxidises byproduct can be re-manufactured as a replacement battery?

  3. Ron Barnes 7 years ago

    Bauxite is the ore aluminum is made from.

  4. Mike G 7 years ago

    Obviously, the Aluminum will be recycled, not mined, and the total energy cycle is lower than gasoline, esp since Aluminum can be shipped cheaply world-wide (and produced via cheap electricity anywhere).

    The aluminum CAN be used for regular driving, obviously less efficient than using the Li-ion pack but still better than gasoline. Replacement of anodes (aluminum) is a 10-minutes job and you get new aluminum, not someone’s else unknown battery.

  5. Dr.Frank Ferrer 7 years ago

    Metallic aluminum will react with water and relase hydrogen protons this is the mechanism by which the electrons will follow creating a voltage potential, what is missing here is the nickel componant which is what attracts the proton of hydrogen. We produce hydrogen via this reaction using not chemical reactions but ultrasonic energy as a catalyst here the potential for our technology to be used to produce on board hydrogen.

    Dr.Frank Ferrer
    H2Sonics LLC
    http://www.h2sonics.com

  6. Ron Horgan 7 years ago

    So the aluminium is an energy store like the zinc in a non rechargeable dry cell battery.
    The advantage is one of energy density.
    If the aluminium is made using solar electricity and the spent alumina recycled then the true cost could be estimated.
    Aluminium refineries are large centralized factories and the return of spent batteries would be a major exercise. However presumably the plates could be cast directly from the molten aluminium rather than casting into ingots for transport.

  7. Ron Barnes 7 years ago

    The problem using Consumible Aluminum is the High amount of energy it takes to produce. Energy providers and Governments supply them at a very reduced rate to assist in keeping people employed. Thus the return to Government is in taxes of Companys ,wages,G.S.T.

  8. Steve w 7 years ago

    There is a longer version of the article over here:
    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1083111_phinergy-1000-mile-aluminum-air-battery-on-the-road-in-2017
    There’s quite a few EV owners in Canberra now, and it’s clear that powering a car with electricity is much cheaper than petrol. So, if it is reasonably efficient to convert the hydrated aluminium oxide back to the aluminium plates, then it could be a goer.

  9. Trevor Jackson 7 years ago

    Phinergy have the right idea, as do Metalectrique. Metal-air swappable batteries offer much longer range than rechargeables and the numbers for aluminium work out at 9p per mile if you use the right electrolyte.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IEmrQzch2E&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Interesting stuff.

  10. Dr.Frank Ferrer 7 years ago

    Folks
    The countries that should be benefiting of these new Aluminum technologies in the alternative energy space, are those which are paying the environmental greenhouse gas price,that is countries like Australia. These technologies can compensate for both the high electric energetic price of the smelting process, as well as the the relase of highly toxic greenhouse gases which are released as the Aluminum ore and metal are produced. The subsidized electricity that is given by the Australian people to the Aluminum producers should be shared with these new technologies so that these green technologies can be passed down
    to the people in the form of cheap alternative power. Gas in Australia is around $6.40 a Gallon,
    a kilo of hydrogen could be produced at a cost of $4.00 ( that is 70 mile range) with our technology.

    Dr.Frank Ferrer
    Inventor/managing partner
    H2sonics LLC
    http://www.h2sonics.com

    Inventor/

  11. Derek 7 years ago

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