RE-CHARGING your EV could be as quick as visiting a fuel station to replenish petrol or diesel.
That’s the promise coming from chemists at Glasgow University who have developed a new type of energy storage system: a ‘hybrid-electric-hydrogen’ flow battery
The chemists say that an electric car battery could be “recharged” in about the same time as it takes to fill a conventional petrol or diesel car fuel tank.
The system produces a material that is a pumpable liquid. The ‘charged’ liquid is fed into the battery, while the old battery liquid is removed.
The old battery liquid is then recharged ready to be used again.
The findings have been published in a new paper published by chemists from the University of Glasgow in the journal Nature Chemistry.
In the paper the scientists discuss how they have developed a flow battery system using a nano-molecule that can store electric power or hydrogen gas. The result is a new type of hybrid energy storage system that can be used as a flow battery or for hydrogen storage.
Their ‘hybrid-electric-hydrogen’ flow battery, based upon the design of a nanoscale battery molecule can store energy, releasing the power on demand as electric power or hydrogen gas that can be used a fuel.
When a concentrated liquid containing the nano-molecules is made, the amount of energy it can store increases by almost 10 times.
The energy can be released as either electricity or hydrogen gas. This means the system would be applicable for both EVs and hydrogen powered fuel cell cars.
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, University of Glasgow, along 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 be used in electric cars, for the storage of renewable energy, and to develop electric-to-gas energy systems for when a fuel is required.
Professor Cronin said: “For future renewables to be effective high capacity and flexible energy storage systems are needed to smooth out the peaks and troughs in supply. 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.
“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.”
This research is funded by the University of Glasgow complex chemistry initiative as well as the European Research Council (ERC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).