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Company Introduces Zinc Fuel Cell Power Pack

Lithium ion technology has been getting lots of attention recently, but zinc-air tech has been largely ignored–until now. A California start-up called Power Air plans on introducing a PDA-sized zinc fuel cell box that can be used to charge electronics.

Power Air’s fuel cells work by dissolving zinc in an electrolyte solution. Exposure to air provokes the formation of zinc oxide, which releases electrons and generates electricity.

In order to charge electronics, consumers will have to open a lid on the power pack to make the current flow. A gel inside the pack will contain the zinc powder and electrolyte solution.

The prototype power pack, which can store between 15 and 20 watt hours (7 to 10 charges), will be introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. Power Air estimates that the pack will cost $20. Eventually, Power Air hopes that its zinc fuel cells will be used in boats and vehicles.

And with growing concerns that lithium supplies are being depleted, zinc-air fuel cells may just be the next big thing.

Photo credit: Power Air

 
 
 
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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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