by Dawson Johns, Managing Director, Zenaji

There are many claims in the industry about lower-cost batteries in the future. However, the laws of supply and demand continue to prevail, with demand continuing to outstrip supply. Battery prices ultimately reflect this.

Every major manufacturer of cars worldwide is moving to an electric vehicle range in the belief that this will reduce carbon footprints but also put increasing pressure on prices. Rare earth metals are in great demand in the manufacturing of many batteries.

The base costs of metal are rising and with increasing demand comes the inevitable price increases. India is likely to produce 30 per cent of the world’s lithium batteries in the next decade. One report (PRAXIS 2021) predicts battery prices are likely to drop 6 per cent per annum till 2030 to below $100 US per kWh.

However, given the cost of batteries today is close to material cost, exactly why this is a likely scenario appears to be based on a series of assumptions rather than anything else. Below is an overview of two of the potential technologies emerging in the battery world which show promise.

Iron Air batteries

Operating through a chemical process known as ‘reversible rusting’, these batteries take in oxygen when discharging, which then causes a reaction with iron to produce rust. An electrical current then converts that rust back into iron during the charging process, releasing oxygen from the battery releases.

This appears to be a low-cost solution but less commercially viable. This process is inefficient and losses of energy will be high, meaning that for each kW of energy earned only a fraction of that energy will become available to the user. Safety issues are a major concern as these batteries can overheat, cause fire, or explode if damaged.

Lithium Air Batteries

These batteries are currently being developed in laboratories and are a new development that could allow for much greater energy storage capacity than a typical Lithium battery. These batteries would literally ‘breathe’ air by using free oxygen to oxidise the anode.

The technology has been described as “promising” but like practically all new technologies there are a number of technological issues yet to be resolved. One of these is the quick build-up of performance, including a quick build-up of performance- decreasing by-products and the resulting problem of ‘sudden death’, where the battery ceases to work without warning.

Zenaji continues to assess the latest in battery technology from around the world and is yet to find a better technology to replace Lithium Titanate (LTO) as the best solution available for long-term stationary storage. This is because of LTOs many benefits including energy density, safety, longevity, cycle life, temperature tolerance, efficiency, and lifetime cost.

This sponsored editorial was brought to you by R&J Batteries. For more information, visit or

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