Zinc-Air Batteries


The BA-8180/U Zinc Air primary (non-rechargeable) battery is a 12/24 Volt, 800 Watt-hour battery pack, approximately the size and weight of a notebook computer. The battery is based on the new generation of lightweight, 30 ampere-hours cells developed by Electric Fuel. Rated at 350 wh/kg, the battery typically provided 4 to 6 times the run time of conventional BA-5590 offering longer mission endurance, improved safety and redundancy and considerable logistics saving. BA-8180/U is typically used with portable equipment, in locations where reliable electrical power is not available, or where long endurance operation of equipment is required – such as with long range patrols, and special operations teams, where the battery pack is carried in a rucksack, adjacent to the radio pack. In satellite communications applications, PSC-5 SATCOM terminals operated continuously for four days, powered by a hybrid zinc-air/lead-acid pack. The battery is used as an external power source, where it replace standard power packs such as BA-5590/U, BA-5390/U and BA-3590/U by using compatible adapters that fits into the battery compartment and plugs into the external source. Similar adapters can replace BB-390A/U, BB-5990/U, BB-690/Y and BB-2590/U rechargeable batteries. Zinc-air batteries are considerably safer in combat situations and more environmentally friendly than lithium batteries. The US Army Communications Electronic Command (CECOM) orders started in 2003 after extensive testing and positive experience with troops during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. In training, Zinc-Air packs powered PRC-119 radio sets for an average period of 6 – 9 days. Arotech reported in November 2003 an order of $5.2 worth of BA-8180/U zinc-air primary  batteries, in addition to an ongoing 2003 order worth $4.1 million. The US Army plans to buy 150,000 BA-8180/U batteries under a sole source program announced in November 2003. Arotech established a new production line for the battery in Auburn, Alabama.

Arotech’s Battery Division Receives CECOM Military Battery Research Contract; Phase I of Program for New Fourth Generation Electric Fuel Zinc Air Cell Has Commenced

On October. 14, 2004 the company announced a new R&D awarded by the US Army Communications and Electronics Command (CECOM), for the development of a fourth generation, portable Zinc Air battery pack aimed specifically at at the Future Force Warrior program. The new batteries will generate 12 or 24 Volt and have a total capacity of approximately 400Wh. Battery Energy Density will be above 300Wh/kg. The program is formed into three phases, starting with phase one, which will optionally be followed by the second and third phases.

The 3rd generation cells now in production for the Electric Fuel BA-8180/U military zinc air battery are mono-cells (single air cathode) with plastic casing encapsulating the anodic zinc reactant. The new 4th generation bi-cell (dual air cathode) will utilize a folded air cathode without plastic casing material, increasing the respective energy density. The power density is expected to double.

“Our goal for the new Electric Fuel cell is for it to become the building block of a new generation of batteries with more energy, to better serve our armed forces.” said Robert S. Ehrlich, Arotech Chairman and CEO.