Transitioning to renewable energy requires the world produce far better batteries in quantities that orders of magnitude higher than are currently made. Available technologies will not be able to accomplish this task. Lead-acid batteries are a non-starter; their short service lives make them impractical for applications that require decades of application. Even though lithium-ion batteries are currently solving the problem, they depend on raw materials that are too scarce to enable the widespread and rapid transition that the realities of global warming demand. Other emerging technologies all fail in some key aspect, like being too sluggish to meet power requirements or being too bulky to meet cost requirements.
We started Salient Energy by challenging ourselves to design a battery that could truly meet the needs of renewable energy storage. We knew it would have to be built with abundant and inexpensive materials that can be sourced throughout the world. We knew it would have to be safe enough for customers to be comfortable placing them in their home or business. We knew it would have to be compatible with standard manufacturing to ensure a rapid and inexpensive scale-up. Through navigating these constraints, we developed the zinc-ion battery.
The zinc-ion battery is an entirely new type of battery that operates using the same principle as lithium-ion batteries. When a zinc-ion battery discharges, zinc ions leave the metal anode and are absorbed into the spaces between atoms in the cathode material. This process, which is known as intercalation, solves three key problems that have previously challenged zinc batteries: rechargeability, energy density, and power capability. While other zinc batteries excel in one or two of these parameters, zinc-ion batteries are the only technology that can deliver all three at time.