NASA has highlighted the the transition of a long-haul silver-zinc battery research effort to the consumer market as a rechargeable hearing aid battery and for other applications.
The space agency said Friday development of the silver-zinc battery began at the Glenn Research Center, where researchers faced challenges such as the soluble and quickly deteriorating electrodes.
Professor Henri Andre first developed a membrane to separate the two electrodes as a fix to the problem in 1920s before the U.S. military advanced the technology in World War II, NASA noted.
ZPower, manufacturer of rechargeable silver-zinc batteries, used NASA’s research to kick off development of silver-zinc batteries in the 1990s with the goal to extend the product’s life through deeper recharge cycles.
“What we’ve done at ZPower is take that chemistry that NASA did a lot of development on, along with the military, and moved it into the commercial sector,” said Ross Dueber, president of ZPower.
The company filed 100 new patents for the battery and enhanced its two electrodes, the electrolyte and the separators to help the system endure 1,000 discharge cycles without losses in performance.
ZPower introduced its rechargeable hearing aid battery in 2013, with plans to expand into other markets.
NASA featured the silver-zinc battery story in the latest issue of its Spinoff publication released Dec. 5.