At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, St. Louis-based Energizer announced that they would be releasing Zinc Air (Zn-O2) Prismatic batteries. The Zinc Air Prismatic battery is based off of a new innovative portable power design that enables device designers to design smaller, lighter and thinner devices using a primary battery (non-rechargeable battery) solution. When compared with lithium ion rechargeable batteries, they offer much lower cost for the OEMs (targeting $0.50 for initial OEM pricing), a similar form factor design, and they eliminate the need for charge circuitry and a charging device. They also last up to three times (3X) longer in runtime when compared to similar sized batteries. It is also said to be safer for the environment since it is environmentally benign. While Legit Reviews’ main focus is computer hardware it would be silly to ignore such a major advancement as every motherboard uses a battery as well as many of our portable devices that we all use daily.
This morning a package arrived from Energizer and inside the metal display case was a real Energizer PP355 Zinc Air Prismatic 1.4V battery! At just 32.2 x 14.7 x 5.0 mm, this AAAA battery is 3mm thinner than the thinnest alkaline battery.
Taking the Energizer PP355 Zinc Air battery out for a closer look we noticed that the positive side (can view)was covered with a piece of removable tape as it covers the air holes used to let air in the battery.
The negative side (cup view) of the Energizer PP355 Zinc Air battery is sealed and looks like a typical battery that we have become accustomed to over the years.
The Zinc Air system requires oxygen from the air as “fuel” to operate. The air access holes under the tape have been included to support the maximum rate capability of the battery. When the battery tab is removed, the battery is “fully open”. The rate of oxygen flow required is proportional to the discharge rate. Therefore, limiting the amount of air access to a zinc air battery can increase the useful life of the battery from 1 – 3 months with no air management to 1 – 2 years using air management. The Energizer PP355 battery has an air requirement of 1.3 cc air/min @ 25 mA, so there is a minimum amount needed for the battery to operate. By using air as fuel it will leave design companies with the ability to custom tailor a battery to their device, which is very innovative.
Let’s take a look at some performance charts to see what we can expect from the Energizer PP355 Zinc Air battery.