Ask Sail: Zinc-Air Batteries - Sail Magazine

Ask Sail: Zinc-Air Batteries

I am racing an ultralight sailboat in a three-day regatta. I am counting every ounce that comes on board, and a conventional wet-cell or AGM battery will put me over my weight limit. Is there any new battery technology I can use?
Author:
Publish date:
Zinc-Air-Batteries

Ben Hatheway of New York, New York, asks:

I am racing an ultralight sailboat in a three-day regatta. I am counting every ounce that comes on board, and a conventional wet-cell or AGM battery will put me over my weight limit. Is there any new battery technology I can use to keep my electronics running, including my nav lights at night?

Gordon West replies:

You might want to check out a new, very powerful lightweight zinc-air battery system. Zinc-air batteries are used throughout the world on many sea buoys, and are now being built for recreational use. I just witnessed sea trials of a 275AH zinc-air battery that is capable of delivering up to 12 amps of continuous current. It weighed just 27.5 lbs and yielded eight times the stored energy per kilogram of a deep-cycle lead-acid battery.

Zinc-air batteries are not rechargeable, but they have replaceable zinc “power cartridges” that can be safely thrown out with your household trash. These make up the anode side of the battery; the air we breathe acts as the “fuel” for the cathode side. After installing a power cartridge, you pull the tab covering the internal air holes and within seconds you’ll have a fresh 12-volt source. QuantumSphere now manufactures a wide range of zinc-air portable power products.

Got a question for our experts? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com

Related

01b_WALKING-KEDGE-OUT-cmykpromo

Getting More Use From Kedge Anchors

If you are cruising, you need at least two anchors on board for the simple reason that you must have a backup. Imagine having to slip your anchor on a stormy night with other boats dragging down on yours, or having your rope rode severed by some unseen underwater obstacle, ...read more

SailAwayCharter

How-to: Navigating on a Bareboat Charter

So you graduated from navigation class where you practiced dead reckoning, doubling the angle on the bow and maybe even celestial nav, and you now feel well prepared for your first charter trip. Well, you won’t be doing any of that on vacation—not past the first day, anyway.Most ...read more

04-Turtle-rescue

Turtle Rescue in the Vic-Maui

Strange and often wonderful things can happen in the course of an offshore sailboat race, and one of the strangest and most wonderful things we’ve heard of recently took place during the 2,300-mile 2018 Vic-Maui race, from Victoria, British Columbia, to Lahaina, Hawaii.It ...read more

dorcap-open-blue

ATN Inc: Dorcap

COOL SLEEPYou’re fast asleep in a snug anchorage, forehatch open to catch the breeze, when you’re rudely awakened by a sneaky rain squall. Now you’re not only awake and wet, you’re sweltering with the hatch closed. Sucks, right? That’s why ATN came up with the Dorcap, an ...read more

HIGH-RES-29312-Tahiti-GSP

Ask Sail: Who has the right-of-way

WHO HAS RIGHT-OF-WAY?Q: I sail in Narragansett Bay, which is a relatively narrow body of water that has upwind boats generally going south and downwind boats generally going north. When sailboats are racing, the starboard tack boat has the right-of-way over the port tack boat, so ...read more

albinheaters

Albin Pump Marine: Marine Water Heaters

IN HOT WATERSweden’s Albin Pump Marine has introduced its line of marine water heaters to the United States. Complete with 130V or 230V AC electric elements, the heaters can be plumbed into the engine cooling system. They feature ceramic-lined cylindrical tanks in 5, 8, 12 and ...read more

03-squalls4

Squall Strategies

Our first encounter with a big squall was sailing from San Diego to Ensenada, Mexico. We left at 0200 to ensure we’d get into Ensenada before our 1300 haulout time. The National Weather Service had forecast consistent 15-20 knot winds from the northwest, which was perfect for the ...read more