According to the company, the battery offers a cheaper and safer alternative to lithium-ion batteries and other storage technologies. The prototype has been shown to be able to handle up to 400 recharge cycles, the company told The New York Times , but that number is expected to eventually triple.
"What people didn't really realize is that alkaline batteries could be made rechargeable," Ionic Materials investor Bill Joy told Bloomberg in an interview. “I think people had given up.”
The rechargeable alkaline battery can be made using continuous manufacturing processes "similar to the making of plastic wrap." It is said to be heavier than current lithium-ion batteries, but that is compensated by cost and energy storage advantages, says the company.
Potential applications include consumer electronics, automotive, and the power grid. The company is looking for potential partners to commercialize the technology, which, it says, could be ready "for wider use" within five years.