Abstract This paper introduces newly developed solid zinc anodes using fibrous material for high power applications in alkaline and large size zinc–air battery systems. The improved performance of the anodes in these two battery systems is demonstrated. The possibilities for control of electrode porosity and for anode/battery design using fibrous materials are discussed in light of experimental data. Because of its mechanical integrity and connectivity, the fibrous solid anode has good electrical conductivity, mechanical stability, and design flexibility for controlling mass distribution, porosity and effective surface area. Experimental data indicated that alkaline cells made of such anodes can have a larger capacity at high discharging currents than commercially available cells. It showed even greater improvement over commercial cells with a non-conventional cell design. Large capacity anodes for a zinc–air battery have also been made and have shown excellent material utilization at various discharge rates. The zinc–air battery was used to power an electric bicycle and demonstrated good results.