Potential Impact, Dissemination and Exploitation

Potential Impact, Dissemination & Exploitation


The POWAIR project has significantly advanced two areas of technology – zinc air flow batteries and novel multi modular power converters.

The zinc air battery has progressed during the period of the project from a TRL of 1-2 at a 4 cm2 size single laboratory cell to a ten frame bipolar battery stack with each frame containing an active electrode area of 600 cm2 (0.6 m2 in total) at TRL 4/5. The stack outputted over 350 W at a current density of 50 mA/cm2.  This represents a x 1200 scale up and is the largest alkali metal air battery of which we have knowledge.

In order to achieve this degree of scale up, the following developments were necessary:

  • Development of low cost and stable bi-functional catalyst with a stable support system.
  • Engineering the catalyst into a robust and productionisable air electrode.
  • Designing a zinc electrolyte which is resistant to both dendrite formation and the effects of carbon dioxide.
  • Integration of the individual battery sub components into a working battery system and scale up into a stack.

Each of these developments are significant achievements which have advanced the state of the art and have many applications in the areas of energy storage and electrochemical processing.

Analysis estimated that with further improvements a zinc air flow battery could be produced which had around a 30% lower capital cost than a vanadium redox flow battery but is likely to have a lower energy efficiency and further development may not be economic even with the energy efficiency improved to over 60% at high current density.

Exploitation of the zinc air flow battery may be directly as a battery but the partners are also developing the sub components (catalyst, air electrode and gas diffusion battery stack) for none energy storage applications.

The multi-modular power converter has been shown to have high efficiency, modularity and could be hot swapped. It is suitable for integration of many different types of generation and storage onto an electricity network. The increased complexity and increased number of semi conductors make the technology more expensive at a small scale but it offers many performance advantages and is cost effective above around 2 MW. It is particularly suitable for the integration of renewable energy sources and can be integrated with any kind of storage (battery and/or supercapacitor).

The power converter is being developed into a commercial product over the next two years in cooperation with a high volume manufacturer and a TSO.

Impacts achievable from POWAIR:

  1. Increased cost effectiveness and flexibility in the integration of renewable energy generation into the electricity grid
  2. Improved Reliability – By providing more local sources of energy the addition of storage to a low voltage grid will improve the reliability and security of power supply to the customers
  3. Efficiency – from reduction in transmission losses and displacing fossil fuel generation capacity working inefficiently as spinning reserve or rapid response reserve
  4. Long Term Security – The avoidance of using materials that are in short supply, and the active displacement fossil fuels from outside the EU for some network balancing activities will improve the EU’s long term security of supply
  5. Reduced environmental impact – From enabling the effective integration of variable renewable generation sources within the electricity network, reduced transmission losses and the low environmental impact of this battery compared will almost all the available alternatives
  6. Improved metal air batteries which could be used in stationary and none stationary applications
  7. New technologies and processes using the air electrodes (gas diffusion electrodes) and cells developed in POWAIR
  8. The development of a new modular power converter with many advantages over current power converters and which may be cheaper at scales > 2MW
  9. Creation of jobs and a significant new product for the SME developing and manufacturing the power converter
  10. A power converter ideally suited to the integration of multiple mixed energy sources and sinks into a power network which should support integration of renewable generation sources

Consortium Websites

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E-on logo Fuma-Tech logo
GreenPower logo DNV KEMA logo
University of Seville logo University of Southampton logo


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