The time it takes to charge an electric vehicle could be dropped from hours to just seconds, thanks to a new ‘flow battery system’ developed by the University of Glasgow.
For as long as electric cars have been part of the public conversation, there has always been one major hurdle putting many people off them – the time it takes to charge. Even the most efficient charging systems and batteries can take several hours to fully charge, as opposed to filling a petrol car which only takes a matter of seconds. That however could all be about to change.
‘Nanoscale battery molecules’
Chemistry researchers from the university have developed a hi-tech liquid containing ‘nanoscale battery molecules’. Put simply, the liquid is a sort of removable battery – so you can pump fresh, fully-charged liquid into your car while the old, depleted liquid is removed and taken away to be re-charged. This means you can effectively fill up your car in the same way you would with petrol (and in the same amount of time).
As well as proving electricity, the liquid can also provide hydrogen for hydrogen-powered vehicles, making it an extremely versatile sort of ‘dual fuel’.
The new technology spells out great news not just for motorists, but for the environment too. Because the liquid stores energy effectively and can be charged away from the car, it can make use of renewable energy as and when it’s available, meaning less reliance on fossil fuels.
Professor Leroy Cronin, who worked on the project, 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.”
There’s no news on if or when the technology will be available for public use, but the future looks very promising!