Announced at the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference in Atlanta, the companies will collaborate on new materials, processes and components to commercialise the aluminium-air battery, which can extend electric vehicle range by 1,000 miles.

Alcoa’s extensive technical materials expertise, along with our deep roots in bringing new products to market in the automotive industry, were of great interest to Phinergy as its revolutionary aluminium-air battery moves from research to commercialisation,” said Dr Raymond Kilmer, Alcoa’s executive vice president and chief technology officer. “Automotive manufacturers are looking for technologies that enable zero-emission cars to travel the same kinds of distances as gasoline-powered cars. The aluminium-air range extender has the potential to meet that challenge.”

“Electric vehicle adoption has been slowed by the limited range of regular batteries, causing what is commonly known as ‘range anxiety’,” said Aviv Tzidon, CEO of Phinergy. “With Phinergy’s technology, and Alcoa’s industrial leadership across both the aluminium value chain and the automotive market, we see an exciting opportunity to help move electric vehicles into the mainstream.”

Phinergy’s aluminum-air battery uses air and water to unleash energy stored in aluminium. According to Phinergy, just one of the 50 aluminium plates in the battery can power a car for approximately 20 miles, extending vehicle range by approximately 1,000 miles. The technology allows an energy density that surpasses conventional battery technologies and creates electric vehicles with travel distances, purchase prices and life-cycle costs that are comparable to fossil-fuel cars.

In addition to use in electric vehicles, Phinergy indicated that the battery technology can be used for stationary energy applications such as commercial emergency generators for hospitals and data centres, general purpose generators, and defence applications such as mobile housing and unmanned vehicles. It can also be used for first responders due to its infinite shelf life and high energy density. Phinergy and Alcoa are also working on the aluminium-air technology for these applications.