Toronto, Ontario — Aluma Power, a Canadian company located on Aamjiwnaang First Nations Land, is just one of many start-up companies looking to use recycled aluminum to power electric vehicles in place of other battery systems.
Known as an aluminum-air battery, Aluma Power is working on creating a fuel disk made from recycled aluminum that can be changed in a matter of minutes and last for up to 130 hours of consumption inside a vehicle.
The batteries function by producing electricity through the oxidation and reduction of aluminum. This oxidation process makes the aluminum react with the air and, according to Aluma Power, creates a high-density energy battery that can be eight times lighter and four times smaller than traditional lithium-ion batteries.
Aluminum was originally chosen as the main source material for the air-based batteries because it is 2.5 times more energetically dense than diesel or gasoline and is readily abundant, making up 8 percent of the Earth’s crust.
Because the cathode in an aluminum-air battery is just oxygen from ambient air reactions, supporters of the technology claim that one advantage of the product is that there is no need for extra metal parts, further allowing the battery to be lighter than competitors.
The battery also does not lose voltage when discharging and can be sourced from scrap aluminum salvaged from vehicles, old buildings, manufacturing products etc.
Disadvantages to the technology are a need for the creation of a system for battery swapping since the aluminum-air batteries function more like AA batteries than conventional EV batteries.
Despite these disadvantages, Aluma Power envisions a future system where melted down engines and other scrap vehicle parts could be used to create the disc-like batteries in an effort to create a more circular recycling economy.