Nano Liquid Battery Could Reduce EV Charging Time to Seconds

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【Summary】Energy capacity using the liquid-based power cell also increased – by a whopping 10 times.

Michael Cheng    Aug 25, 2018 12:00 PM PT
Nano Liquid Battery Could Reduce EV Charging Time to Seconds

Charging is an essential part of the EV experience. At the moment, recharging one's EV battery takes substantially longer, compared to refueling a conventional gas-powered car. In order to reduce charging time (and boost EV adoption), advancements in power-cell technology is pressingly needed.

Scottish chemists from the University of Glasgow understand the demanding requirements of EV batteries and have developed a cutting-edge solution to address slow charging concerns. Leveraging dense liquid components, the scientists were able to decrease EV charging time to seconds (average charging time using standard EV batteries range between 30 minutes to 3 hours).

Flow Battery Model

The design and mechanisms of the flow battery were formally documented in a study published in the Nature Chemistry journal, which was funded by the University of Glasgow, the European Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The revolutionary battery uses a thick liquid consisting of nano molecules for efficient storage of either hydrogen gas or electric power.

This liquid is capable of generating the needed energy quickly and on demand. When it's time to recharge, drivers must replace the liquid. This process requires individuals to first attach a nozzle to the EV and pump out the used matter. Afterwards, a second nozzle replenishes the car with fresh nano liquid.

The flow battery comes with other benefits for EV owners. Energy capacity using the liquid power cell increased – by a whopping 10 times. Moreover, the used matter is recyclable, allowing scientists to process and re-use the liquid for other battery-related applications.

"For future renewables to be effective high capacity and flexible energy storage systems are needed to smooth out the peaks and troughs in supply," said Professor Leroy (Lee) Cronin during an interview with the University of Glasgow News.

"Moreover, the very high energy density of our material could increase the range of electric cars, and also increase the resilience of energy storage systems to keep the lights on at times of peak demand."

Scaling and Availability

While the new battery technology is very promising, it may take some time for EVs to switch over to liquid-based power cells. Comprehensive testing is needed to ensure the mixture is stable and safe to use for long periods of time. Moreover, the authors of the study admitted that scaling this type of battery could be challenging.

Interestingly, the units could also double as energy storage solutions for residential buildings. If adopted by the EV sector, Professor Cronin foresees the possibility of both liquid battery-powered EVs and gas-powered cars to co-exist on public roads.

"I can see a situation where you would have petrol and liquid battery co-existing for a while," cited Professor Cronin.

Other approaches to enhancing various aspects of EV battery performance entail a deep understanding of the natural behavior of lithium and replacing liquids inside EV batteries with solid-state conductors.

Uncovered by researchers from Michigan Technological University, such methods are considerably safer, compared to current EV power cells, as the units are highly resistant to flames and combustion.

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