Published June 22, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
PowerGenix, a manufacturer of high performance, rechargeable Nickel-Zinc (NiZn) batteries, along with China City Construction Corporation (CCCC) and Huainan City has signed a three-party agreement to create the world’s first commercial-scale Nickel-Zinc (NiZn) battery manufacturing center.
Signed at the Seventh Central China Investment and Trade Expo in Changsha, Hunan province, the agreement provides a strategic framework for cooperation between the three parties as well as financial incentives for the joint venture, known as CCCC-PowerGenix Clean Energy Co., Ltd.
In December 2011, PowerGenix signed a joint venture agreement with CCCC to develop, manufacture and sell NiZn batteries for the automotive market and other markets where clean, high power and cost competitive battery products are needed. CCCC is the only national company that specializes in infrastructure and urbanization development in China. The announcement marks an important milestone in the joint venture and brings further validation to the commercialization of NiZn technology for micro-hybrid vehicles.
“China City Construction Corporation has long been committed to supporting regional economic development projects, especially those that support new technologies that will bring significant benefits to the environment and the quality of life of our community,” said CCCC Group Vice President Ge Jin. “We first began investigating PowerGenix’s NiZn technology in early 2011 as a higher performing and more environmentally friendly alternative to lead-based batteries for transportation, reserve power and other applications. As strong supporters of China’s strategic investment initiatives, we are pleased that the development of NiZn battery technology can take root in Huainan City.”
“Huainan City’s commitment and support for our joint venture with CCCC is a meaningful example of how industry and government can partner to quickly deploy progressive energy technologies that would otherwise take years due to their capital intensity,” said Dan Squiller, CEO of PowerGenix. “It’s rare that you find three partners as closely aligned as CCCC, Huainan City, and PowerGenix.”
Nickel-zinc batteries are chemically very similar to nickel-cadmium. Both use an alkaline electrolyte and a nickel electrode but differ significantly in their voltage. The nickel-zinc cell delivers more than 0.4V of additional voltage both at open circuit and under load.
With the additional 0.4V per cell, an inherent value of the nickel-zinc cell lies in the reduced cell count required for a multi-cell battery. For higher voltage applications the advantages associated with fewer cells are quickly apparent through a smaller footprint, lighter weight, and lower impedance battery.
PowerGenix claims its high discharge battery has up to a third more the energy density of a traditional nickel-cadmium (NiCd) battery when measured by either weight (watt-hours per kilogram) or by volume (watt -hours per liter). PowerGenix also claims it delivers a higher voltage in a smaller and lighter package than other rechargeable batteries. PowerGenix has assembled a traditional 19.2 volt pack into the form factor of a 14.4 volt pack, representing a 25-percent lower cell requirement that also delivers higher power and a 45-percent lower impedance, resulting in significantly higher torque.