A Bulgarian research institute with expertise in enhancing the performance characteristics of Ni-Zn rechargeable batteries through optimisation of the Zn electrode design and of its active material by various conductive additives has been developing a new approach to solve the problem with the high self-discharge and “shape change” of the Zn electrode during prolonged charge/discharge cycling as well as a shortened lifetime of the electrode due to Zn dendrites formation. The proposed innovative technology could boost the performance, reduce the price and increase the life of Ni-Zn batteries. The novelty of the innovation project is a new approach (technology) in resolving the existing technological problems of Ni-Zn batteries and the business opportunities that come from their market application. In this new Ni-Zn battery the following technological problems will be solved: formation of dendrites during charging of the battery, which can penetrate the separator and cause a short circuit in the system shortening the battery life; change of the shape of the electrode; solubility of active mass into electrolyte; This leads to the loss of active mass in the electrode contact or local thickening of the electrode.
This innovation would lead to more reliable, safe and compact battery with high specific energy and power and improved stability. These advantages would overcome a current technological challenge of the world economy in the field of energy supply for industrial applications. The development of the new Ni-Zn battery with improved characteristics will provide a unique portable power source for devices used in information technology and in renewable energy sources. These batteries could be an ideal solution for all end users of systems developed for the storage of energy generated from solar, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy sources. Another important application of these batteries is in maintaining "backup systems", providing power supply to nuclear power plants, transportation, defence and telecommunication systems, internet networks and everywhere to be assured power in extreme situations where conventional power could break down.
The institute is looking for scientific partners to overcome some challenges related to the zinc electrode such as dendrites formation that leads to short-circuits and reduce the battery life under a technology/research cooperation agreement.