Aluminium-Air power cell tech set to make a comeback

Experimental Aluminium-Air power cell

The military developed and used ALuminium-Air power cell tech decades ago. New discoveries and advances in electrolyte mean it might become viable for commercial and domestic use. The Daily Mail has this:

Two years ago, Jackson claims, motor manufacturers lobbied the Foreign Office to bar him from a prestigious conference for European businesses and governments at the British embassy in Paris, which was supposed to agree a blueprint for ensuring all new cars are electric by 2040. The bid to exclude him failed. Now, with the signing of the Austin deal, it seems he is finally on the road to success.

He has also secured a £108,000 grant for further research from the Advanced Propulsion Centre, a partner of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. His technology has been validated by two French universities.

He says: ‘It has been a tough battle but I’m finally making progress. From every logical standpoint, this is the way to go.’

Jackson began working on new ways of powering electric vehicles after a distinguished engineering career. He worked for Rolls-Royce in Derby, helping to design nuclear reactors, then took a commission in the Royal Navy, where he served as a lieutenant on board nuclear submarines, managing and maintaining their reactors.

Before founding his own firm in 1999, he was working for BAE Systems, where he first started looking at alternative, green ways to power vehicles. By then he and his partner, Kathryn, were married. The couple have eight children, aged 11 to 27, and live in Tavistock, on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon.

In 2001 he began to investigate the potential of a technology first developed in the 1960s. Scientists had discovered that by dipping aluminium into a chemical solution known as an electrolyte, they could trigger a reaction between the metal and air to produce electricity. At that time the method was useless for commercial batteries because the electrolyte was extremely poisonous, and caustic.

After years of experimentation at his workshop in the Cornish village of Callington, Jackson’s eureka moment came when he developed a new formula for the electrolyte that was neither poisonous nor caustic.

‘I’ve drunk it when demonstrating it to investors, so I can attest to the fact that it’s harmless,’ Jackson says. Another problem with the 1960s version was that it worked only with totally pure aluminium, which is very expensive.

But Jackson’s electrolyte works with much lower-purity metal – including recycled drinks cans. The formula, which is top secret, is the key to his device.

Technically, it should be described as a fuel cell, not a battery. Either way, it is so light and powerful that it could now be set to revolutionise low-carbon transport, because it supplies so much energy.

Full story

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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October 28, 2019 at 03:28AM

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