"This cell design gets its name from its use of alkaline aqueous solutions as electrolytes. Alkaline battery chemistry was first introduced in the early ’60s. The alkaline cell has grown in popularity, becoming the zinc-carbon cell's greatest competitor. Alkaline cells have many acknowledged advantages over zinc-carbon, including a higher energy density, longer shelf life, superior leakage resistance, better performance in both continuous and intermittent duty cycles, and lower internal resistance, which allows it to operate at high discharge rates over a wider temperature range."
Alkaline batteries and alkaline cells (a battery being a collection of multiple cells) are a type of disposable battery or rechargeable battery dependent upon the reaction between zinc and manganese dioxide (Zn/MnO2). Compared with zinc-carbon batteries of the Leclanché or zinc chloride types, while all produce approximately 1.5 volts per cell, alkaline batteries have a higher energy density and longer shelf-life. Compared with silver-oxide batteries, which alkalines commonly compete against in button cells, they have lower energy density and shorter lifetimes but lower cost.
The alkaline battery gets its name because it has an alkaline electrolyte of potassium hydroxide, instead of the acidic ammonium chloride or zinc chloride electrolyte of the zinc-carbon batteries which are offered in the same nominal voltages and physical size. Other battery systems also use alkaline electrolytes, but they use different active materials for the electrodes.