Zinc-air batteries are metal-air batteries that use oxidized zinc when they come in contact with oxygen in the air. They get activated when oxygen is absorbed into the electrolyte through membrane and diffused directly into the battery. Zinc-air batteries are non-rechargeable; however, research is being carried out to develop rechargeable ones, which would be able to minimize a considerable amount of electronic waste generated by disposal of these batteries after use.
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Zinc-air batteries have high energy density, which makes them more efficient compared to the conventional batteries. This feature of the batteries is expected to boost the market for zinc-air batteries Zinc is produced in large quantity and is available in abundance. Moreover, manufacturing cost of these batteries is comparatively low. They are available in a wide range of sizes, which makes them convenient for use. Zinc-air batteries are light in weight, which supports their usage in various applications such as electric vehicles.
Most of the properties of zinc-air batteries are comparable with those of lithium ion batteries; however, the former provides an additional advantage of not requiring any volatile material for their production. Thus, unlike lithium ion batteries, they are not prone to catching fire when used in high-temperature working environments. There is usually a decline in voltage of conventional batteries as they get discharged. However, this is not the case with zinc-air batteries as they exhibit a flat discharge voltage. Thus, the voltage remains constant until the battery gets completely exhausted, thereby providing a uniform and constant energy generation till they are completely discharged. These advantages of zinc-air batteries are expected to propel the market in the next few years. However, the performance of zinc-air batteries is dependent on environmental conditions. Exposure of electrolyte to oxygen in the air during activation makes it susceptible to drying out. This can be a major restricting factor to the shelf life of these batteries. Also, carbon dioxide may come in contact with oxygen to form carbonates under certain environmental conditions. These carbonates may block the membrane separating oxygen and the electrolyte. This, in turn, may affect the conductivity of zinc-air batteries. The high level of sensitivity of these batteries to temperature and humidity can restrict their usage to some extent in harsh working conditions. Furthermore, they are prone to flooding, which can make them difficult to handle. These drawbacks of zinc-air batteries are anticipated to hamper market growth during the forecast period.
Zinc-air batteries are suitable for high rate as well as low rate applications. High rate applications are those where the battery has a short life, but offers high output, while low rate applications are those where the battery possesses a long life, but provides low output. Based on application, the zinc-air battery market can be segmented into industrial applications and household uses. Industrial applications of zinc-air battery include pagers and other telecommunication devices, power sources for electric fences, and electric vehicles such as electric cars and buses. In the medical field, zinc-air batteries are used in cardiac telemetry monitors employed for continuous monitoring of patients. Bone growth simulators used to repair broken bones also make use of zinc-air batteries. Similarly, household applications of zinc-air batteries include hearing aids, mobile phones, watches, and digital cameras..
Based on geography, the zinc-air battery market can be divided into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. Rise in emphasis to curb down the vehicular emission by using lightweight batteries and increase in demand for electric vehicles in North America and Europe are likely to boost the zinc-air battery market in the next few years. Furthermore, the increasing need for efficient zinc-air military batteries in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and manned aerial vehicles (MAV) is driving the market in North America.
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Some of the Key players operating in the zinc-air battery market are Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc, Energizer Holdings, Duracell International Inc, Power-One Microsystems Pvt Ltd, Panasonic Corporation, House of Batteries Ltd, Enzinc Inc, The Jauch Group, Arotech Corporation, Toshiba Corporation, NEXcell Battery Co. Ltd, Renata SA, ZAF Energy Systems Inc., Zhuhai Zhi Li Co. Ltd, and Shanzhen Konnoc Battery Industrial Co. Ltd.