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Auto Tech Outlook | Wednesday, March 27, 2019
Rearchers at Purdue University have come up with a giant leap in advancing alternative energy with a new type of electric vehicle power using refillable technology which could provide enough energy to run a car about three thousand miles. The technology employs a new kind of flow battery that is being successfully tested in golf carts. Flow battery uses a single water-based fluid — like a hybrid of battery and gas —that can run the car like it is a gas engine. The single-fluid technology oxidizes the anode to produce electrons, without using a membrane or separator, and through a reduction at the cathode, it generates the current of energy to power vehicles. The oxidant is a macro-molecule that resides in the electrolyte but is reduced only at the cathode.
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It is considered a game changer for the next generation of electric cars as it does not require an expensive rebuild of the electric grid. One could convert gas stations to pump fresh electrolyte and discard depleted electrolyte or convert oil-changing facilities to anode replacing stations. Flow batteries are more comfortable and safer to use and are more environmentally friendly than existing battery systems.
The technology uses a method that is safe and affordable for charging electric and hybrid vehicle batteries through a process similar to refueling car at gas station. The anode material is replaced in every three thousand miles taking lesser time than is needed to do an oil change and costing about the same about $65.
The battery produces electricity and hydrogen. This is significant because most hydrogen-powered cars run on a 5,000 or 10,000 PSI [pounds per square inch] tank that is dangerous. This battery technology system generates hydrogen as users need it so that one can safely store hydrogen at pressures of 20 or 30 PSI instead of 10,000. Traditional flow batteries have an energy density of about 20-watt-hours per kilogram and a lithium-ion battery 250-watt-hours per kilogram. When compared the flow batter has the potential to run about three to five times that amount.
The used battery fluids or electrolytes can be taken to a solar farm, wind turbine installation or hydroelectric plant for recharging. Also, they are stable enough to meet significant production and distribution requirements and are cost effective.