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An Introduction to the Nickel-Zinc Battery Chemistry

Dan Lambert

Nickel-zinc is one of the oldest new battery technologies available today. The first patents issued around the chemistry date to the turn of the 20th century. Patents submitted by de Michalowski, Junger and Edison were all issued in the 1899 to 1901 timeframe. Further development has proceeded in several countries, and by many researchers and manufacturers. There are currently several manufacturers working with nickel-zinc batteries in different areas, and utilizing variations of the basic chemistry. Desirable because of the excellent high rate discharge capability, the chemistry was plagued by the inability for the available technology of the time to control the growth of zinc dendrites in the cells, which lead to internal shorting of the cells. Thanks to the advancement of cell design, new manufacturing technologies, and new battery component materials, nickel-zinc has now become a commercially viable battery chemistry. This paper will address nickel-zinc batteries from three perspectives: 1) An introduction to the chemistry and construction of nickel-zinc batteries; 2) Third party test data; 3) Current nickel-zinc battery uses and applications.

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