Setting its sights on the burgeoning US market for car batteries, cutting-edge Swiss zinc-air battery company, ReVolt, has decided to take advantage of Oregon’s generous business tax credits for development of next generation car technologies.
Announcing that it has selected Portland, Oregon as the location for its US headquarters and manufacturing center, ReVolt said it expects to create as many as 250 new jobs there. The partnership represents a coup for Oregon and Portland in the race to be the future electric car capital of the world.
“ReVolt’s entry to the Portland clean-tech landscape couldn’t be coming at a more vital time,” said Portland Mayor Sam Adams. ”ReVolt not only brings jobs and investment to our region; their innovation adds to our electric vehicle industry development and supports our economic development strategy – that sustainability and economic prosperity go hand in hand here in Portland.”
Along with the announcement of the Portland partnership, ReVolt has also said that it will be applying for $30 million in grants from US Department of Energy under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act to accelerate the commercialization of its zinc-air battery technology.
“In applying for government research funding, ReVolt is answering these agencies’ call for innovative technologies driving energy independence and US leadership in advanced battery designs underpinning the next generation of vehicles, networked devices and power grids,” said James P. McDougall, CEO of ReVolt Technology. “There is a tremendous, mutually-beneficial opportunity in Portland’s clean-tech sector and clean energy stimulus programs to fast-track our proven technology and production goals if we are among innovators selected for research funding.”
When it comes to next generation battery technologies, zinc-air holds a ton of promise. Purportedly, if you were to compare a zinc-air battery to a lithium-ion battery of the same size, the zinc-air battery would be able to hold 3 times the amount of energy as the lithium-ion battery. Also, given that zinc is a much more abundant material than lithium, it would not only make for cheaper batteries, it would also be a wiser choice for battery material to avoid future shortages.
According to ReVolt, the batteries degrade into environmentally-safe substances when exhausted and would not need a battery recycling program. While this may be true, I think it would make more sense to recycle the zinc rather than mining new material.
Multiple Sources: City of Portland Press Release, ReVolt Press Release, Green Car Congress.
Image Credit: ReVolt