Batteries are becoming more and more important in today’s society. From electric vehicles to renewable energy, demand for batteries is increasing as they become essential components for the green technologies of tomorrow. Unfortunately, given the rise in importance of these batteries, many experts expect a shortage of batteries in the medium-term future. This is particularly applicable for lithium batteries. One of the solutions to help alleviate this problem will be to design novel batteries that will help us palliate our dependence on a few metals that cannot be produced quick enough to meet projected demand.

Zinc is a metal found abundantly throughout our planet. Batteries made with zinc-air technology are cheaper, greener, and safer than comparable lithium and lead batteries. Lithium mining is environmentally taxing and the end product toxic. Furthermore, the commercial lithium supply is controlled by a few countries and lithium needs complex cooling systems in hot environments. Lead, while recyclable, is often not recycled and its toxins can leach into the surrounding area.

Currently, zinc batteries are nonchargeable and used in small devices (think hearing aids or a flashlight). The most well-known zinc battery is the alkaline battery; these zinc batteries have high energy density that enable them to power personal devices. The next step is the development of rechargeable zinc batteries. Luckily, many companies are already working on this. This would allow for all the advantages of nonchargeable zinc batteries, namely better pricing and environmental friendliness.

One such company is our client AZA Battery, which we are advising in its search for institutional investors willing to participate in their current financing round. AZA is at the forefront of the sustainable development of zinc-air batteries for photovoltaic, energy storage, and mobility applications. The company, with more than 10 years of experience and a significant portfolio of Intellectual Property patents, has technology that is 10 years ahead of the current zinc battery industry.

One of the most important and potentially game changing applications for rechargeable zinc-air batteries would be their application in renewable energy installations. In many sites, especially in solar parks, the generation of electricity does not match well with peak power consumption. Therefore, a system of energy storage is essential to get the most out of renewable power generation. Rechargeable zinc-air batteries are well adapted for this use case given the low cycle count that is required. Zinc-air batteries that have high energy density can also be useful for mobility applications, like those in scooters or forklifts.

Overall, it is probable that a number of different solutions will have to be utilized in order to solve the aforementioned battery shortage. Zinc-air offers compelling advantages in certain areas like energy storage and mobility and is well adapted to become a key part of a success story for both the environment and the groups that invest.

As part of our ongoing work to bridge the gap between the present and a greener future, Finenza will continue to help a major player in the zinc-air battery sector.

Eric Rosenzweig