Lead and zinc are often accompanied by minerals and maintain a high degree of similarity in price trends, so they can be said to be twin brothers in the metal industry. Originally, the difference in the use of the two metals determines that they are not related. However, with the rapid development of zinc-air batteries in the near future, the previous difficulties may face an ultimate duel in the later period.
Zinc-air battery, also known as zinc-oxygen battery, uses activated carbon to adsorb oxygen or pure oxygen in the air as the positive electrode active material, zinc as the negative electrode, and ammonium chloride or caustic solution as the electrolyte. Compared with traditional batteries, especially lead-acid batteries, zinc-air batteries have many advantages.
First of all, green environmental protection is a bright spot, known as the 21st century environmentally friendly new energy. Because zinc-air batteries do not use lead, mercury, cadmium and other heavy toxic heavy metals, they have less pollution to the environment, and at the same time, there is no danger of explosion, and they are safe and reliable. Secondly, the cost is low and the energy storage is large. The raw materials are mainly oxygen in the air and cheap zinc, so the materials are easily available. And its capacity is 3-10 times higher than other batteries. For example, a single 300 amp-hour cylindrical zinc-air battery weighs only 0.75 kg, while the weight of the same lead battery is more than 8 kg. Compared with the current mainstream lithium car batteries, data shows that a 180 kg zinc-air battery can generate 44 kilowatt-hours of power and a battery life of 350 kilometers, while a lithium battery with the same power can weigh up to 360 kg. Finally, the advantages of charging are outstanding. Most energy storage batteries have the disadvantage of frequent charging, especially lead-acid batteries cannot be deeply discharged for a long time, and the long charging time brings a lot of inconvenience to customers. And some types of zinc-air batteries are not batteries, but use zinc and air to directly generate electricity. Simply put, after the battery is used up, the user only needs to replace the encapsulated zinc powder, and it can be reused, and the replacement time can be completed within 3 minutes.
In 2011, zinc batteries accounted for less than 10% of total zinc demand, which did not increase but declined compared with 2005. The main reason is that zinc-containing batteries are not mainstream in the industry. However, as the zinc-air battery industry expands in the later period, coupled with the continuous innovation of other zinc-containing battery technologies, the demand for zinc in the battery industry may increase significantly. Happening.
Lead-acid batteries are the main downstream demand for lead ingots, and their share in the lead demand structure has been increasing in recent years, maintaining around 80% in 2011. In my country, lead-acid batteries are mainly used in electric bicycles. At present, 97.5% of electric bicycles use lead-acid batteries, but lead-acid batteries have short lifespan and serious environmental pollution. It is reported that in 2011, more than 80% of lead battery companies in the country were closed or suspended due to multiple "blood lead" incidents and environmental protection.
China will invest more than 100 billion yuan in the next 10 years to support the production of energy-saving and new energy vehicles, making China the world's largest producer of new energy vehicles. However, in the field of new energy vehicle development in my country, the power batteries used in pure electric buses are basically lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are rechargeable batteries. After being assembled in a 12m-class bus, they must be charged at a professional charging station every day. If you use high-flow DC charging, the charging time should take at least 3 hours. If you use AC charging It takes at least 5-6 hours. Lead-acid power batteries are currently mainly used in electric bicycles, and the application technology on electric vehicles is still immature. Therefore, in terms of technical prospects, zinc-air batteries will have the upper hand in the new energy vehicle market in the later stage. And as the technology matures, it may indicate that the era of zinc-air batteries has begun.
Domestically, in 2011, the country’s first zinc-air electric bus was officially off the assembly line. It is reported that this zinc-air battery pure electric city bus can travel about 300 kilometers per charge, and the maximum speed can reach 80 kilometers per hour. Traditional lithium battery electric vehicles are one-third lower. At present, lithium polymer batteries are still popular. In addition, Shenzhen Greepu Battery Company is a professional company specializing in R&D, production and sales of lithium polymer batteries. Its lithium polymer battery products have been well received at home and abroad!
What is the development prospect of lithium battery manufacturers
"Lithium battery" is a type of battery that uses lithium metal or lithium alloy as the negative electrode material and uses a non-aqueous electrolyte solution. The earliest lithium battery came from the great inventor Edison, using the following reaction: Li+MnO2=LiMnO2 This reaction is a redox reaction, discharge. Due to the very active chemical properties of lithium metal, the processing, storage and use of lithium metal have very high environmental requirements. Therefore, lithium batteries have not been used for a long time. With the development of science and technology, lithium batteries have now become the mainstream.
Lithium batteries can be roughly divided into two categories: lithium metal batteries and lithium ion batteries. Lithium-ion batteries do not contain metallic lithium and are rechargeable. The fifth generation of rechargeable batteries, lithium metal batteries, was born in 1996, and its safety, specific capacity, self-discharge rate, and cost performance are all superior to lithium-ion batteries. Due to its own high-tech requirements, only a few companies in a few countries are producing such lithium metal batteries.
Lithium batteries are currently widely used in the fields of mobile phones, mobile power supplies and electric vehicles, and are mature in the first two fields. Because the capacity of lithium batteries is proportional to the volume, the current lithium battery technology cannot perfectly solve the problems of electric vehicle life and battery size. Therefore, the electric vehicle and power lithium battery industry has not been recognized by consumers, which makes many power lithium battery industry chains (especially downstream manufacturers) difficult.
With the breakthrough of the new generation of lithium battery technology, coupled with the government's promotion and subsidies for power lithium batteries, the industry will usher in a good opportunity for development in the future. The Prospective Industry Research Institute provided the "China's Lithium Battery Industry Market Demand Forecast and Investment Strategic Planning Analysis Report" and pointed out that the demand for lithium batteries in the future will greatly increase. It is estimated that by 2018, the output value of lithium batteries will reach US$86 billion. The new generation of lithium battery technology will promote the rapid development of the lithium battery market and provide development opportunities for manufacturers in the lithium battery industry chain.