Owners of electric vehicles may soon recharge their cars as quick and easy as that of an internal combustion engine automboile getting refueled as researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with a battery design that relies on a semi-solid flow cell battery.
According to MITNews.com, the semi-solid flow cell battery design is advantageous since "it separates the two functions of the battery--storing energy until it is needed, and discharging that energy when it needs to be used--into separate physical structures."
The new design thus makes it possible to reduce not just the size but also the cost of current battery systems. The MIT researchers behind the project even believe that its design may just be what today's electric vehicles need to make them fully competitive with conventional gas- or diesel-powered vehicles.
The biggest advantage, though, is that the semi-solid flow cell design allows one to "refuel" an electric vehicle by simply pumping out the discharged liquid slurry and pumping in a fresh, fully charged replacement. Another method would be to swap batteries like in a pit stop or, if time permits, simply recharge the existing material.
"The demonstration of a semi-solid lithium-ion battery is a major breakthrough that shows that slurry-type active materials can be used for storing electrical energy," said Yury Gogotsi, a distinguished university professor at Drexel University and the director of Drexel's Nanotechnology Institute. Gogotsi added that this advance "has tremendous importance for the future of energy production and storage."
Photo from Nissan