Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Zinc Matrix Power is one of several companies working on a safer alternative to conventional lithium-ion batteries. Although current lithium-ion electrolytes are flammable, 3M is developing nonflammable electrolytes for use with lithium-ion batteries. Other companies, such as Valence Technology (Austin, TX) and A123 Systems (Watertown, MA), are marketing batteries that use a phosphate material in one electrode, which is safer than the oxides typically used in lithium-ion batteries.

Donald Sadoway, professor of chemistry at MIT, is skeptical that a recycling program will be sufficient to keep down the costs of silver-zinc batteries. “The capital costs of this thing is going to kill you,” he says. Even the Navy, which has used the expensive silver-zinc technology, is funding his group to study advances in lithium-ion batteries, Sadoway says. If anyone has indeed found a way to make affordable, high-performance silver-zinc batteries, though, it could be “really good,” he says, adding that “remarkable claims require remarkable proof. And this sounds remarkable.”

But the reaction of Yet-Ming Chiang, a MIT materials scientist and a founder of battery-maker A123 Systems, to the recent Zinc Matrix announcement reflects the fast development of new battery technologies. “A competitor every day,” he says. “We’ll have to get used to it.”

5 comments. Share your thoughts »

Tagged: Energy

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me