Reinventing the Edison Battery

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Fall River, Massachusetts
Project Term:
10/01/2012 - 09/30/2015

Technology Description:

Xilectric is developing a totally new class of low-cost rechargeable batteries with a chemistry analogous to the original nickel-iron Edison battery. At the turn of the 20th century, Thomas Edison experimented with low-cost, durable nickel-iron aqueous batteries for use in EVs. Given their inability to operate in cold weather and higher cost than lead-acid batteries, Edison’s batteries were eventually dismissed for automotive applications. Xilectric is reviving and re-engineering the basic chemistry of the Edison battery, using domestically abundant, environmentally friendly, and low-cost metals, such as aluminum and magnesium, as its active components. Xilectric’s design would be easy to manufacture and demonstrate longer life span than today’s best Li-ion batteries, enabling more widespread use of EVs.

Potential Impact:

If successful, Xilectric’s reinvented Edison battery would demonstrate lower-cost and longer life than today’s best Li-Ion batteries at 25% of the manufacturing cost.


Increased use of EVs would decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil—the transportation sector is the dominant source of this dependence.


Greater use of EVs would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.


This battery would enable an EV to travel from Chicago to St. Louis (300 miles) on a single charge, for less than $10 on average.


ARPA-E Program Director:
Dr. Ping Liu
Project Contact:
Steven Weiss
Press and General Inquiries Email:
Project Contact Email:


Electrosynthesis Company, Inc.

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