San Diego- and China-based PowerGenix – which has long espoused nickel-zinc battery technology as a lighter weight and more recyclable alternative to nickel metal hydride (F&F, September 15, 2008) – report a three-way agreement paving the way for commercial-scale NiZn manufacturing in Huainan City, Hunan.
PowerGenix, China City Construction Corp, and the city of Huainan are to build a factory there.
“This announcement marks a significant milestone for NiZn as it moves towards commercialization for transportation and other applications,” says a U.S. spokesman.
“NiZn is particularly well-suited for stop-start systems in micro-hybrid vehicles – the market for which is projected to grow to 39 million by 2017.
“A commercial-scale factory will position PowerGenix to prove its dominance over lithium ion and lead-acid for micro-hybrid technology,” he told F&F.
Micro hybrids are also known as start-stop vehicles, in which fuel is saved because the engine shuts down when the car is not moving. It is more common in Europe, where standard transmissions are the norm, says PowerGenix systems engineering director Salil Soman.
“It’s rare that you find three partners as closely aligned as CCCC, Huainan City, and PowerGenix,” PowerGenix CEO Dan Squiller said in a release. Squiller maintains that NiZn holds an edge even over A123’s new Nanophosphate EXT lithium ion technology (F&F, June 18).
The PowerGenix “outperform lead-acid and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries in a smaller and lighter form-factor, and avoid the high cost and safety issues associated with lithium ion,” the company says, “providing a highly recyclable, lead-free alternative to existing technologies in the multi-billion dollar rechargeable battery market.
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Source: PowerGenix release, Fleets & Fuels follow-up