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Activation unit for increased performance of reaction electrodes, solid-state storage devices and membranes in metal-air batteries

Country of Origin: Germany
Reference Number: TODE20180601002
Publication Date: 13 June 2018


A German research institution is developing an activation unit to improve the performance of solid state energy storage devices. An industrial partner from battery manufacturing, fuel cell manufacturing, or supplier in the electromobility sector is sought for licensing, transfer of rights, and/or R&D collaboration for prototyping.


Metal-air batteries are a new battery type with a theoretical storage capacity up to a hundred times higher compared to Li-ion batteries.

A major practical obstacle is the currently achievable low number of charge-discharge cycles due to irreversible recombination of charge carriers with the microporous cathode materials, blockage of cathode material by discharge products, and corrosion by aggressive oxygen species. The aforementioned problems have not yet been solved with state of the art technology, e.g. using different material combinations, electrode geometries, or catalytic coatings.

A German research group has devised the concept of an activation unit for application to electrodes and membranes in solid-state energy storage devices. With this activation unit the number of recharge-discharge cycles can be increased by an active electric, magnetic, hydraulic, pneumatic, or electro-mechanic near- or far-field control of the electrodes, charge carriers, and reaction conditions.

As shown in the figure, a conducting sensor plate gives a normalized voltage output signal depending on the current between the electrodes, since charge carriers passing the sensor plate reduce its resistance. The signal from the sensor plate is sent to a control unit, which regulates the actuation by electric, hydraulic, pneumatic, or electro-mechanic field generation. The generated actuation fields can affect the properties of the electrolyte, e.g. conductivity, phase transitions, or the electrode reactions, thereby mobilizing recombined charge carriers and/or reducing or avoiding blockage of the electrode.

The consequences are higher cycle number (increased lifetime), enhanced operation dynamics, and improved safety.

This technology could be applied by battery manufacturers and suppliers, especially in the electromobility sector, fuel cell manufacturing, and in microporous energy storage solutions. Partners from these sectors could benefit from a transfer of rights of the existing IP (patent pending), licensing, or especially a R&D collaboration to refine the technology into a prototype.

Advantages and Innovations

The following improvements can be made to metal-air batteries and other solid state energy storage devices by integrating an activation unit:

- Higher cycle number, leading to a longer lifetime and a better usage of storage capacity.

- Enhanced operation dynamics by stationary and impulse actuation, which enables transient increase of power density, alleviation of overload, and size reduction of the battery.

- Better safety by more rapid battery shutdown in case of overheating or other emergencies.

Stage Of Development

Under development/lab tested

Requested partner

Battery manufacturers, suppliers especially in the electromobility sector, fuel cell manufacturers, and provider of microporous energy storage solutions are sought for transfer of rights of the existing IP (patent pending), licensing, or R&D collaboration for prototyping.

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