The Electrochemical Society has awarded Urban Electric Power the New Electrochemical Technology (NET) Award for 2021 for commercializing its invention of a rechargeable alkaline battery based on the zinc manganese-dioxide chemistry in familiar household batteries.
The NET Award recognizes significant advances in industrial electrochemistry that have made it to the commercial market within the previous 10 years. It was presented last night during a Society conference to Dr. Sanjoy Banerjee, Urban Electric Power’s founder, Executive Chairman and CEO.
“It’s gratifying to have this recognition from our peers as we prepare to roll out more products using this technology,” said Banerjee, who is also Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at City College of New York.
It was the latest in a string of awards and recognition for Urban Electric Power and its products. Banerjee and VP for Commercial Strategy and Finance Gabriel Cowles are presenting next Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 18-19, at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo in the Washington, D.C. region’s National Harbor, where they will receive further recognition in the form of a TechConnect Innovation Award for 2021.
Urban Electric Power is the only energy storage company among 20 startups chosen for this year’s Incubatenergy Labs program by the Electric Power Research Institute to partner with top electric utilities; and, the only energy storage company among five startups in this year’s F3 Tech innovation accelerator program.
Offering several advantages over lithium-ion batteries, lead-acid batteries, and diesel generators, the zinc alkaline battery modules it manufactures in Pearl River, New York, can be grouped for residential, commercial, and utility-scale energy storage. The residential product is called the Ohm; the utility-scale product is the Zeus.
The company announced in September that its battery had completed the critical UL 9540A testing standard for fire safety at a leading independent lab, confirming a key advantage over lithium-ion batteries which are susceptible to thermal runaway. Earlier this year it passed testing to the UL 1973 standard, covering batteries for use in stationary applications such as for capturing power from PV solar and wind turbines, uninterruptible power supplies, etc.
Banerjee and Urban Electric Power previously won the Green Chemistry Challenge Academic Award from the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2019.
The Electrochemical Society represents over 8,000 scientists and engineers. Its NET Award, administered by the Society’s Industrial Electrochemistry and Electrochemical Engineering Division, was endowed by the Dow Chemical Company Foundation in 1997 to recognize significant advances in industrial electrochemistry and promote further research and development. To qualify, a company must have commercialized its invention within the previous 10 years.
Banerjee made a presentation explaining the technology and its potential at the Society’s 240th Meeting, being held virtually this week. Entitled “Development and Commercialization of Rechargeable Zinc Manganese Alkaline Batteries to Enable a Sustainable Low-Carbon Energy Future,” the presentation lists as additional contributors Umer Anwer, Ann Marie Augustus, Alex Couzis, Gabriel Cowles, Jinchao Huang, Andrew Naukam, and Gautam Ganapati Yadav, all with Urban Electric Power.
In addition to their fire safety advantages, zinc manganese-dioxide batteries are far more affordable than lithium-ion batteries for residential, commercial, and grid-scale power backup, solar+storage, and microgrid applications. They avoid the use of conflict minerals such as cobalt, which is used in lithium-ion batteries. They remain non-toxic and occupy half the space of comparably-rated lead-acid batteries, which can also reach thermal runaway. And they can replace diesel generators, eliminating noise, emissions, and the need for refueling.
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