This Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) Phase II project will expand the performance of a novel zinc battery chemistry which leverages a high conductivity polymer electrolyte, and further characterize the battery system to increase its commercial attractiveness to interested customers and partners, particularly for small portable and flexible electronics applications. The novel zinc battery chemistry is an ultrathin, flexible and rechargeable battery technology. This battery chemistry utilizes an air-stable, earth-abundant, robust, and non-lithium materials set that is manufacturable by print-based processing and is scalable to large dimensions with sheet or web manufacturing. The goals of this project are to increase understanding of this new battery chemistry, demonstrate and characterize its unique flexibility, scale the technology to pilot-level manufacturing, and improve its commercially relevant performance properties.
The broader impacts/commercial potential of this project are diverse. They include the establishment of new battery chemistry and manufacturing paradigm which can be disruptive to markets requiring novel device functionality and form factors. This technology also allows for significant reduction of the cost and environmental impact of batteries for growing and potentially ubiquitous application. Lastly, this new approach to battery manufacturing presents the opportunity to repurpose the printing industry to produce next generation batteries. Despite considerable prior work in the field of batteries, there is a large mismatch between available battery technologies and the performance, form factor, cost, and manufacturing requirements needed to serve as a platform battery system to power flexible and wearable electronics, robotics, sensors, energy harvesters, displays, and wireless electronics. The novel battery technology being developed in this project can alleviate these constraints and potentially revolutionize the portable electronic market to achieve new form factors, capabilities, and spur adoption into new application areas.