Zinc–bromine battery is a redox flow battery. A redox flow battery is the one in which most of the energy is stored by plating zinc as a solid on the anode during charging. In a cell of the zinc–bromine battery, there are two compartments filled with two different electrolytes. The two compartments are separated by a microporous polyolefin membrane. One electrolyte comes into action when a positive electrode reaction takes place, while the other electrolyte comes into action when a negative electrode reaction occurs. During charging, metallic zinc gets deposited on the anode side of the electrode. Bromine ions get oxidized into bromine and get evolved on the other side of the membrane. Bromine has limited solubility in water. Hence, it forms a viscous bromine-adduct oil, which sinks to the bottom of the compartment. This oil later gets mixed with the remaining solution during discharging of the battery.
The zinc–bromine battery has higher energy density compared to regular batteries such as lead acid batteries. Zinc–bromine batteries are rechargeable; hence, they have longer shelf life compared to other types of batteries. Zinc is a metal available in abundance. The manufacturing cost of zinc–bromine batteries is also lower than other batteries. All these factors are expected to boost the market for zinc–bromine batteries during the forecast period.
However, zinc–bromine batteries have certain limitations. When zinc gets deposited on the anode side of the electrode, it tends to form dendrites. Formation of dendrites can result in a short circuit in the cell, which can be dangerous. In order to avoid this, the zinc–bromine battery needs to be fully discharged after a certain period of time. Zinc is highly soluble in the aqueous zinc bromide electrolyte, which can result in diffusion in the cell. Diffusion causes the bromine solution to directly react with the zinc electrode. This can result in self-discharge, which can reduce the shelf life of the battery. These disadvantages can have an adverse effect on the zinc–bromine batteries market in the next few years. However, zinc–bromine batteries offer a good option for energy storage.
Based on application, the zinc–bromine batteries market can be segmented into domestic applications and industrial applications. As an industrial application, zinc–bromine batteries are used in electric vehicles on a large scale. For example, zinc–bromine batteries have been installed in Volkswagen buses, which are being used in Australia. Hotzenblitz is a German company that has designed an electric vehicle to be powered specially by a zinc–bromine battery. Toyota Motor Corporation is conducting research on developing a zinc–bromine battery for use in an electric vehicle called EV-30, which can be used for urban transportation. It is looking forward to introducing this novel vehicle in Japan in the next few years. Significant research is being carried out in different parts of the world to employ zinc–bromine batteries in energy storage applications.
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Based on region, the zinc–bromine batteries market can be segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Middle East & Africa. The increasing need for use of energy storage devices with greater storage capacity and longer shelf life in high-voltage electric applications in North America and Asia Pacific (specifically Australia and Japan) is expected to boost the market for zinc–bromine batteries in these regions in the next few years. The increasing need for use of lightweight vehicles and the rising need for utilizing energy-saving technologies such as zinc–bromine batteries in electric vehicles are factors anticipated to propel the zinc–bromine battery market in North America and Europe in the near future.
Some of the key players operating in the zinc–bromine batteries market are Sandia National Laboratory, Covertel Power Pty. Ltd., Primus Power Corporation, Redflow Energy Storage Solutions Ltd., Smart Energy GB Ltd., ZBB Energy Corporation (now Ensync Energy Systems), and ZBest Technology Ltd.