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Alcoa and Phinergy Agree to Develop Batteries to Extend Range by 1,000 Miles
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February 11, 2014

Alcoa and Phinergy Agree to Develop Batteries to Extend Range by 1,000 Miles

By Frank Griffin
TMCnet Contributing Writer

In the past, one of the biggest drawbacks of environmentally friendly vehicles was the design, but Elon Musk and his Tesla has put that to rest, which leaves the battery. The Tesla has also achieved single charge mileage rate of 244 miles for the Roadster, which can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 or 3.9 seconds depending on the model with up to 288 horsepower. While the numbers the Tesla produces is enough for daily commuters, the price of the vehicle puts it out of reach for the vast majority of consumers. Companies around the world are investing in electric vehicles with the same or more mileage capability than the Tesla, while at the same time making it affordable for the large segment of the population. A new collaboration between Alcoa and tech company Phinergy is set to develop and commercialize batteries that run on air and aluminum to extend the range of electric vehicles to 1,000 miles.

The announcement was made at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Atlanta with the collaboration promising to improve battery performance for a wide range of applications. Besides electric vehicles, they look forward to implement this technology in commercial energy generators for hospitals, data centers, general-purpose generators and emergency service providers because of the infinite shelf life and high energy density it provides.

The Phinergy aluminum-air battery uses air and water to release energy stored in aluminum. According to the company one of the 50 aluminum plates in the battery can power a car for approximately 20 miles, which would extend the range of an electric vehicle by approximately 1,000 miles.

"Automotive manufacturers are looking for technologies that enable zero-emission cars to travel the same kinds of distances as gasoline-powered cars. The aluminum-air range extender has the potential to meet that challenge," said Dr. Raymond Kilmer, Alcoa’s Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer.

Phinergy has successfully integrated the Aluminum-Air battery system resulting in more than three times the driving range of current EVs. The metal-air battery system has Ultra High energy density, zero CO2 emissions and fully recyclable materials.

The added benefit of this technology besides the extended range is, it brings purchase prices and lifecycle costs that are comparable to standard vehicles powered by gasoline. This will bring the price point of even the most affordable electric vehicle further down.

Aluminum contains high amounts of energy (8kWh/kg), and the Phinergy propriety process is able to harness that energy with its air electrodes transform aluminum-air energy systems into a very effective, robust, and reliable clean energy source.

"Electric vehicle adoption has been slowed by the limited range of regular batteries, causing what is commonly known as ‘range anxiety'. With Phinergy’s technology, and Alcoa’s industrial leadership across both the aluminum value chain and the automotive market, we see an exciting opportunity to help move electric vehicles into the mainstream," said Aviv Tzidon, CEO of Phinergy. 

Edited by Ryan Sartor

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