It all started with Thomas Edison who began dabbling with all different kinds of battery chemistries, including nickel-zinc (NiZn). The great inventor seemed obsessed with battery technology, specifically creating storage batteries for the transportation darling of its day—the electric automobile. Edison was intrigued by the potential of NiZn electrochemistry because of its high energy density, high efficiency rating and temperature tolerance advantages compared to traditional battery chemistries. In 1901, Thomas Edison was awarded US patent 684,201 for NiZn chemistry, but was never able to bring NiZn to commercialization.
More then a hundred years later an exciting breakthrough arrives in 1993. Stanford lecturer and chemist, Morris Eisenberg creates a new electrolyte solving the problem that bedeviled Edison. Eisenberg’s electrolyte enables a significant increase in the NiZn battery cycle life. Unfortunately, Eisenberg’s company, Next Century Power, fails but his new electrolyte becomes the core technology for PowerGenix.
PowerGenix Founder, Jeff Phillips advances Eisenberg’s work, becoming the first to finally commercialize NiZn batteries. Phillips used Eisenberg’s concepts to develop a NiZn technology with improved energy and power density that could be manufactured on modern high speed manufacturing equipment. By leveraging the positive electrode technology from nickel-metal hydride batteries and the separator advances made in lithium-ion batteries, the Edison technology could finally compete with the performance of the latest lithium-ion batteries. The technology offered big advantages in areas of energy power density, maintenance cost, environmental safety and recyclability.
PowerGenix, now ZincFive, has over 100 patents issued and pending for NiZn. Some of the innovations include; Electrolyte and Electrode Composition, Charging Algorithms, Cell Design and Manufacturing Technology. ZincFive is now taking Thomas Edison's dream battery and bringing it to a global scale - delivering a breakthrough solution that is safe, highly recyclable and energy efficient.