Sept. 26, 2018.Over the past six years, 110 villages in Africa and Asia received their power from solar panels and batteries that use zinc and oxygen.

Thomas Edison tried to develop batteries made with zinc 100 years ago.

NantEnergy says its zinc air batteries are the first to become commercially available.

Scientists at NantEnergy said they had achieved two key goals: to make the batteries rechargeable, and to lower their cost for energy storage to $100 per kilowatt-hour.

Zinc air batteries are one of several potential alternatives to lithium-ion batteries, which have been the focus until now for large-scale power storage and electric vehicles.

Dr. Narayan said reserves of lithium, a primary element in lithium-ion batteries, were one-twentieth those of zinc, but he added a note of caution.

Zinc air batteries lack toxic compounds, are not flammable and can be disposed of safely, according to MIT Technology Review.