In recent years, lithium-ion batteries have overtaken lead-acid batteries as the industry-wide standard.

NantEnergy, a US energy company, has announced the development of a zinc-air battery which stores energy and is considerably cheaper than other battery types currently on the market, including the popular lithium-ion battery.

Compared to lithium-ion battery costs estimated to be between $300 and $400 per kilowatt-hour, NantEnergy says its zinc-air battery has cut cost down to less than $100 per kilowatt-hour-a threshold at which power storage is expected to be affordable enough to have more mainstream impact.

Beyond potential pricing points, zinc-air batteries hold other advantages over lithium-ion batteries as they don’t pose fire hazards or need to prevent overheating.

Like lithium-ion, the potential applications for zinc-air batteries range from powering electric cars and also homes and businesses.

NantEnergy says its zinc-air batteries have already been successfully tested in 110 villages that previously had no access to electricity in parts of Asia and Africa, including Indonesia and Madagascar.

Like most alternatives to national grids also existing across Africa, zinc-air batteries will be deployed alongside solar panels in micro-grids.