Innovative nickel coating cuts battery waste

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(from left) Andre Novent Chenady, Adinata Setiawan, Merlin Liyanti, Alvin Febrianto, and Michelle Veronika Mutiara A. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Surabaya – As one of the biggest cities in Indonesia, Jakarta contributes 130 thousand zinc-carbon batteries discarded as waste every day. Not to mention those from other big cities. These problems prompted five students of the Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology (ITS), Surabaya, to explore innovations that could improve the performance of commercial zinc-carbon batteries.

Andre Novent Chenady, Adinata Setiawan, Alvin Febrianto, Merlin Liyanti, and Michelle Veronika Mutiara A. are undergraduate Chemical Engineering students, batch 2018. Joined in one team, they initiated innovations in improving the performance of Zinc-Carbon batteries by adding nickel through an electrospray method.

According to Andre Novent Chenady as team leader, electrospray is a coating method that can produce nano-sized particles. Of the many coating methods, this team chose the electrospray method. “The electrospray method can add fewer nickel particles, it also creates nickel surface area on the carbon rod of the battery so that it is more cost-effective,” said Andre, his nickname, in a release received by the Independent Observer, Wednesday (10/3/2021).

Electrospray plating makes the nickel on the battery carbon rod perfectly coated with low porosity. Coating with the electrospray method is carried out by connecting a carbon rod and a metallic needle from an injection containing a nickel solution with an electrical energy supply. The high-voltage electricity from the energy supply is arranged so that the nickel particles form a Taylor cone. “After the desired conditions are achieved, nickel particles will radiate and cover the carbon rods,” he said.

Nickel plating on Zinc-Carbon batteries can increase battery per formance by up to 130 percent. This will extend battery life. Consumers do not need to replace batteries so often, meaning battery waste is reduced. This innovation was generated through research that lasted for one month. Andre claims, the innovation they have initiated is still new and has never been made public before. “So, you could say we initiated the idea.”

The hard work of the team, guided by Dr. Kusdianto ST MScEng, has yielded great results. The idea they came up with won a gold medal in the 2021 ASEAN Innovative Science Environmental and Entrepreneur Fair (AISEEF) as well as an IYSA Special Award. The competition was held by the Indonesian Young Scientist Association (IYSA) in February 2021.

Winning a competition that was attended by 505 teams from 20 countries, Andre hopes that his idea can be applied immediately. “If this innovation is applied, battery waste in Indonesia will be reduced by 30 per cent,” said the student from Tanjung Pinang. (est)