Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are QSI’s zinc-air batteries rechargeable?

    No. MetAir® Cells are primary (non-rechargeable) cells which can be conveniently used and replaced much like replacing the ink toner cartridge in a printer.  Once discharged (completely utilized), the MetAir® Power Cartridge is replaceable and can be disposed of in the normal waste stream. Relying on combustible fuels, or solar- or wind-generated power in an “off-the-grid”, emergency power outage, or military situation can be dangerous, unpredictable, and inefficient.  The MetAir® Ranger PPS is lightweight, safe, and reliable for emergency back-up power needs – day or night – when diesel generators, solar, or wind are not available for recharging batteries.

  2. What is the typical voltage of zinc-air chemistry?

    QSI’s zinc-air chemistry provides 1.4V Open Circuit Voltage (OCV) and 0.9V-1.25V per cell under load or closed circuit voltage (CCV).

  3. How does the discharge voltage curve slope relative to lead acid and lithium-ion batteries?

    The zinc-air discharge curve is completely flat 90% of the discharge time and then drops off sharply toward the end of the battery life, whereas lead acid and lithium-ion will tend to decrease voltage gradually throughout the discharge period.  Alkaline and lead acid batteries suffer from low rate self-discharge that decrease shelf life dramatically.  When lead acid batteries are stored fully charged, they suffer from a permanent capacity loss over time and must be maintained (re-charged) every three months to ensure a full state of charge and operational readiness.

  4. What is energy-to-density/weight ratio of the zinc-air chemistry?

    The MetAir® Ranger battery is about the size of a single deep cycle (heavy duty) lead acid marine battery, yet weighs roughly half as much (about 25lbs.) and provides up to TEN times the equivalent energy density.  The MetAir® chemistry offers specific energy of up to 300 watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/Kg) today. It offers the highest energy/weight ratio of any commercially available primary/disposable battery.

  5. What are the current delivery capabilities of zinc-air chemistry?

    Delivery capabilities range from 500 milliamps, 1 amp, 2 amps, 3 amps and 4 amps per cell, or up to 40mA/cm2 in a complete cell.

  6. What is the shelf life of a sealed disposable zinc-air cell or battery system?

    Zinc-air primary batteries are typically known for offering a long stable shelf life, generally up to three years (before initial use, sealed in the original airtight packaging). Once activated (exposed to air), the MetAir® battery should be completely utilized within three months. The MetAir® Replaceable Power Cartridge has a one year performance warranty.

  7. Can a user stop the discharge of an active zinc-air cell or battery once it has been activated?

    Yes, if properly re-sealed to cut-off the air supply, you can slow the discharge rate and re-use the battery again for up to two months, depending on remaining energy capacity. However, it is important to note that once the original packaging has been opened, the battery is technically activated and will not return to its original capacity levels.

  8. Where is zinc-air technology most commonly used today?

    Zinc-air batteries are currently used for hearing aids, watches, telecommunications equipment, ocean buoys, railway remote signaling, and military applications.

  9. Does conventional fuel gauge technology (for lead acid, nickel, or lithium batteries) work with zinc-air?

    Standard battery fuel gauge technology does not work for zinc-air because of the constant discharge curve. A custom low cost battery management system was designed to read the actual capacity left in the battery based on usage.

  10. Does zinc-air require United Nations (UN) or Department of Transportation (DOT) approval for commercial shipment?

    No. Because they are non-toxic and non-combustible, zinc-air batteries are approved by the Department of Transportation (DOT) for travel / transport via air, land, and sea under Special Provision A123 with no further permissions needed.

  11. Are the MetAir zinc-air battery cartridges safe and environmentally friendly?

    Yes. Zinc-air batteries are safe, eco-friendly, non-toxic, and nonflammable. MetAir cells contain zinc in the anode gel, a non-combustible, non-toxic material. The MetAir batteries contain NO added mercury, lead, lithium, or cadmium. Other batteries, such as lead acid contain sulphuric acid, a highly corrosive and poisonous liquid that can cause severe chemical burns. When a lead-acid battery is charged, hydrogen and oxygen gases are formed, which can cause it to explode.[1] Lithium-ion batteries can also rupture, ignite, or explode when exposed to high temperature or air. In the event of a fire, the device may emit dense irritating smoke.[2] Lithium batteries have been implicated in at least two fatal cargo plane crashes since 2006.[3] MetAir cells contain no liquid fuels and are approved for transport via air, land, and sea by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Additionally, watch the zinc-air Vs. lithium ion gunshot test on YouTube.


    [2]  Electrochem Commercial Power (9 September 2006). “Safety and handling guidelines for Electrochem Lithium Batteries”(PDF). Rutgers University. Retrieved 21 May 2009.


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