Research Topic

Zn-Based Rechargeable Batteries: Materials, Mechanisms and Applications

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Li-ion batteries (LIBs) dominate most of today's electrochemical energy storage space, owing to their outstanding energy density. Yet, their high cost, safety concerns associated with the use of flammable liquid organic electrolytes, and limited and uneven global distribution of lithium reserve restrict their ...

Li-ion batteries (LIBs) dominate most of today's electrochemical energy storage space, owing to their outstanding energy density. Yet, their high cost, safety concerns associated with the use of flammable liquid organic electrolytes, and limited and uneven global distribution of lithium reserve restrict their applicability in large-scale energy storage, where energy density and size are not the biggest concerns. In this context, Zn anode-based batteries, especially those with aqueous electrolytes, offer great promise. Their inherent safety, fast rate capability, potential long cycle life, low materials and processing cost, and environmental benignity make them appealing for grid-scale and stationary energy storage applications.

Zn-based batteries have been commercially available (e.g. primary Zn-MnO2 and rechargeable Ni-Zn batteries) for a long time. These cells utilize alkaline electrolytes and their reactions involve solvent (OH- ions). In the past few years, there has been a resurgence in innovative Zn-based batteries, starting from novel Zn electrode design towards prolonged cyclability in alkaline electrolytes to the development of host materials for high-performance Zn2+ storage. The latter type employs mildly acidic aqueous electrolytes and is termed as Zn-ion batteries. These have received unprecedented attention, but their complex reaction mechanisms remain controversial. While metallic Zn is an attractive anode due to its high capacity, abundance and thus low cost, reversible Zn cycling appears to be an issue in both alkaline and mildly acidic electrolytes. Clearly many fundamental and practical challenges remain to realize the full potential of Zn-based batteries. Comprehensive electrochemical analysis, advanced characterization and theoretical computations will be key to unravelling the fundamental reaction mechanisms of Zn-based batteries. Meanwhile, the development of novel Zn-ion storage materials, electrolytes, and innovative materials and electrode design would be necessary to improve the overall battery performance.

This Research Topic welcomes submissions of Original Research, Review and Perspective articles that contribute to the experimental and theoretical research on the fundamental understanding, materials and electrochemistry of innovative Zn-based batteries (including Zn-ion, Zn-Air and Zn-based flow batteries, Zn-ion hybrid supercapacitors), which include but are not limited to:
- Fundamental studies on the working mechanisms of Zn-ion batteries
- Materials for Zn-ion storage
- Electrolytes (aqueous, organic, ionic liquid, gel, polymer and hybrid electrolytes, additives)
- Strategies for stable and dendrite-free Zn metal anodes
- Advanced characterization for Zn battery research
- Applications, e.g. flexible Zn batteries


Keywords: Zn-based batteries, electrochemistry, electrode materials, Zn metal anodes, electrolytes


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