Development trend of fuel cell technology and metal-air battery technology

The development trend of fuel cell technology

At present, the proton exchange membrane fuel cell is the main fuel cell, and its applications are mainly concentrated in the backup power supply market, the electric vehicle market and the special vehicle market. In these three markets, there are clearer technological development trends.

In the backup power market, solving the problem of hydrogen supply and high cost of fuel cells is the main focus of future development. In the long run, the development of fuel cells must enter the low-end market by reducing costs and gain a price advantage in the low-end market. It is also necessary to consider the storage of hydrogen sources to comply with different fire protection regulations of different countries, so that customers can independently choose fuel cells as backup power sources.

In the electric vehicle market, fuel cells will have extensive application potential in the future. However, for highly mature internal combustion engines, the price of fuel cells is still too high. Toyota has reduced the overall cost of fuel cell vehicles by 90% from 2005 to 2010, and is likely to launch a fuel cell vehicle priced at US$50,000 in 2015. The price reduction trend of fuel cells is obvious. In addition, research on hydrogen supply systems and solutions to extend service life are the main trends in the future development of fuel cells in the electric vehicle market.

In the special vehicle market, because many well-known supermarkets and logistics companies in the United States have adopted advanced fuel cell technology with the support of preferential government subsidies, they have used fuel cells as the source of electricity for forklifts, pallet trucks and other material conveying tools, replacing the original lead-acid batteries, which not only improves work efficiency but also improves the working environment. In the future, lowering prices and increasing market awareness are the only development trends for fuel cells in this market.

In addition, in recent years, the new technology of metal fuel cells has also begun to gradually emerge. Metal fuel cell is a new concept fuel cell developed by replacing hydrogen or hydrogen-rich fuel with metal. It is a new concept fuel cell formed by replacing hydrogen with metal fuel. It is mainly used in power sources. The future development trend of metal fuel cells is to apply to submarine AIP system energy, solar energy, wind energy and other intermittent energy storage and grid peak energy storage and other fields.

The development trend of metal-air battery technology

At present, zinc-air batteries can only be charged mechanically, because after every 12 to 20 recharges, crystal branches are easily generated inside the battery, piercing the diaphragm, and causing short-circuit damage to the zinc-air battery.

The technical problem of zinc-air battery charging is one of the focuses of future research and development work. According to the current research results, one of the future development trends is to achieve nearly a thousand recharges of zinc-air batteries and simplify the current mechanical charging methods. In addition, the theoretical specific energy of zinc-air battery can reach 1350Wh/kg, but the actual working specific energy of zinc-air battery is only 180~230Wh/kg. Therefore, another important development trend of zinc-air batteries in the future is to further increase the mass specific energy of the actual battery, so that the specific energy in actual work can reach 500Wh/kg. Regarding its volume ratio energy, the future research and development goal is to approach the volume ratio energy of lithium-ion batteries. As an uninterruptible power supply battery, lithium iron phosphate battery ups is currently the best.

In addition to the development trend in technology, one of the most serious key problems of zinc-air batteries at present is their operating costs, which are equivalent to gasoline, which seriously affects the industrialization and commercialization of zinc-air batteries. Therefore, in the future, the obvious development trend of zinc-air batteries is to reduce operating costs.

Currently, the manufacturers mastering zinc-air battery technology include Israeli Electric Fuel Company, American Dreisback Electromotive Company, Beijing Changli United Energy Technology Co., Ltd., and Xi’an Zinc Pa Company. These companies are committed to researching technological breakthroughs in charging and increasing specific energy, and seeking solutions to reduce operating costs. The future development trend of zinc-air batteries is relatively clear and there is a clear development direction.