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Metal/Air Batteries: Their Status and Potential – a Review

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Considerable work was carried out on metal/air batteries in the 1960’s and early 1970’s for a variety of applications. After this time, however, the overall effort was considerably reduced due to materials problems at the air electrode, thermal management, and miscellaneous technical problems associated with the various anodes evaluated. Recent advances in the performance and stability of air cathodes, together with new and improved candidate anodes, make a comparison of metal/air batteries appropriate at this time. This review concentrates on comparing lithium, aluminum, magnesium, zinc and iron/air batteries with particular emphasis on the suitability of each system for electric vehicle propulsion. The relative merits of mechanically and electrically rechargeable batteries are given, together with systems employing static and circulating electrolytes. We conclude that, due to the institutional difficulties associated with the deployment of recharge systems for mechanically rechargeable batteries in electric vehicles, electrically rechargeable systems are more viable for commercialization in the near term. This conclusion makes zinc/air and iron/air batteries major candidates for this application. Full Document

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