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Liquid battery tech will ‘drop charging time of electric cars to seconds’

Published 14 August 2018

A new liquid battery system could revolutionise the way electric cars are powered, by cutting recharge times from hours to seconds.

The research by the University of Glasgow, published by Nature Chemistry, uncovers a new flow battery system that uses nano-molecules to store electric power that can be used to power the motor of an electric car.

It's claimed that charging times of electric vehicles could be dramatically cut, as the charged material will be a pumpable liquid. This means the recharge would take the same length of time as a traditional fuel fill up, with the old battery liquid being removed at the same time. 

The approach was designed and developed by professor Leroy Lee Cronin, the University of Glasgow’s Regius Chair of Chemistry, and Dr Mark Symes, senior lecturer in electrochemistry with Dr Jia Jia Chen, who is a researcher in the team. They are convinced that this result will help pave the way for the development of new energy storage systems that could transform electric cars.

When a concentrated liquid contains nano-molecules, the amount of energy it can store increases by almost 10 times, according to the research. The technology is thought to be very much at the development stage and no car manufacturers are thought to be involved with the research, which means it's unknown if or when liquid batteries could make it into production vehicles.

Most electric vehicles on sale in the UK use lithium ion batteries, which can take between 45 minutes to 17 hours to recharge. Lithium battery packs are also heavy and expensive, which means EVs are much more expensive to insure compared to petrol and diesel vehicles. 

“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 Cronin.

“Our approach will provide a new route to do this electrochemically and could even have application in electric cars where batteries can still take hours to recharge and have limited capacity."

 

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