The batteries required to power them have so far impeded advancement of electric cars. A primary difference between vehicles powered by fossil fuels and those powered by batteries is that batteries tend to discharge with use and require a finite time to recharge, immobilizing the vehicle for that period. On the other hand, simply filling up the gas-tank with fossil fuel is enough to keep the car rolling on the road. However, that may be changing now.
Research at the Purdue University has led to the development of a new type of battery that can be recharged instantly. The new battery is also affordable, safe, and environmentally friendly. Presently, the viability of electric vehicles hinges on the availability of charging ports in convenient locations. However, the new battery technology allows drivers of hybrid and electric vehicles to charge up very quickly and easily similar to what the drivers of conventional cars do at a gas station.
This breakthrough will definitely boost the switching to electric cars. Not only does the new technology make it more convenient to drive electric cars, but it also reduces substantially the total infrastructure necessary for charging electric cars. Researchers, both professors and doctoral students, from the Purdue University have co-founded IF-Battery LLC for developing and commercializing the technology.
The new battery is a flow type and does not require to be charged at an electric charging station—it is enough to replace the fluid electrolyte of the battery. This is very similar to filling up the gas tank. The fluids from the spent battery can be collected and recharged at any hydroelectric, wind, or solar plant. Therefore, when an electric car using this new battery arrives at the refueling station, the driver can simply deposit the spent fluids for recharging, while filling up his or her battery with new fluids just as he or she might fill gas in a traditional car.
The difference between this flow battery and those developed earlier so far is this new battery does not have any membrane. The membranes other flow batteries use are expensive and vulnerable to fouling. Not only does membrane-fouling limit the number of recharge cycles of the battery, but can also contribute to a fire. Components used in the IF-Battery are safe to store in a family home, and are stable enough so major production and distribution centers can use them, and are cost effective.
In place of building several charging stations, it would be far simpler to transition the existing gas-station infrastructure for accommodating cars using the new battery system. As the battery chemicals are very safe, existing pumps could even be used to dispense these chemicals.
Although sale of electric and hybrid vehicles are growing worldwide, industry and consumers alike are facing the challenge of extending the life and charge of the battery and the infrastructure necessary to charge the vehicle.
At this time, the researchers need more time to complete their research before they can bring the technology to regular use. The researchers are trying to draw interest from investors and working towards publicizing their innovation.