Last week, we told you about the new Citroen vehicles powered by an aluminum-air battery made by Phinergy. We’ve done some digging around and have further details about how this works. In theory, it is indeed a sustainable process that utilizes recycled aluminum and swapping stations. From Phinergy’s website:

Widely available, aluminum contains high amounts of energy (8kWh/kg). It is also easily recyclable, making it an attractive material for energy systems.

Thanks to its revolutionary components, Phinergy’s aluminum-air energy systems use the energy released by the reaction of aluminum with oxygen to generate electric power. Our proprietary air electrodes transform Phinergy’s aluminum-air energy systems into highly effective, robust, and reliable clean energy sources.

Our proprietary process of anode production results in increased use of aluminum energy, while reducing unwanted chemical reactions to minimum.

Phinergy also utilizes an advanced battery management system for ever so increasing the energetic utilization of the battery.

Our aluminum-air energy systems are superior to conventional batteries in terms of energy density and specific energy. Our systems are mechanically reloaded, avoiding long charging time.

The life cycle of aluminum enables to maintain global energetic balance. Phinergy’s aluminum is produced in places where energy is clean and cheap, such as electricity from waterfalls. It then serves as a means for transporting this energy to places where it is required.

When used in an aluminum-air battery, aluminum turns into aluminum hydroxide. Aluminum hydroxide can then be recycled in the aluminum factory, enabling a closed and sustainable life cycle.

Green Energy News quickly noted the phrase “mechanically reloaded,” which is a fancy way of saying swapped out. One California start-up called BetterPlace has a similar idea floating around. Using a switchable battery model, BetterPlace envisions a world where battery switch stations have replaced gas stations.

While there isn’t a clear leader in the electric vehicle landscape (unless you can afford an award-winning Tesla), it’s great to see these competing technologies push metals like aluminum into new innovations — all while committing to a greener world. No matter which system wins the marketplace, in the end, we all win.