What should I know about air alkaline batteries?


A distinctive system within the different types of primary batteries is air-alkaline. This battery type uses oxygen (O2) from the air as the cathode. In an electrical system with two poles or electrodes we speak of cathode for the pole where the electrons go in. The oxygen is fed to the cathode through the small holes in the housing of the battery, where reduction (absorption electrons) occurs on a carbon layer. In the battery housing only an anode has to be enclosed. This will result in an energy density per weight between 220 to 300 Wh/kg on average (compared to 99 to 123 Wh/kg of a silver-oxide battery). An additional advantage of this battery type is the relatively low cost and its environmentally friendly nature. These batteries have an infinite shelf life, until they are exposed to air which will activate them. After activation, the shelf life will become relatively short due to the high self-discharge rate. Another drawback: once activated, the chemical process of energy production is unstoppable; however, it can be slowed down.

Air-alkaline battery applications:

  • Railway signal lighting
  • Roadwork signal lighting
  • Buoy lighting and signal lighting at sea
  • Telecommunication
  • Parking meters
  • Fence lighting
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