One of the major obstacles standing in the way of all-electric and hybrid vehicles becoming the standard mode of transportation is the inconvenience brought about by the need to recharge the batteries once they run out of juice. While several concepts to remedy this issue are in the works, there has yet to be a ‘cure-all’ developed that will alleviate electric vehicle users from having to patiently wait while the battery on their car is being recharged.
According to researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology in Pfinztal, Germany; this could all change with the continued development of what’s being called the redox flow battery.
Whereas the common lithium ion battery being used in the majority of hybrid and all-electric vehicles can take up to several hours to recharge, the redox flow battery is said to be rechargeable by in just a few minutes. How is that?
“These batteries are based on fluid electrolytes. They can therefore be recharged at the gas station in a few minutes – the discharged electrolyte is simply pumped out and replaced with recharged fluid,” says engineer Jens Noack from ICT. “The pumped-off electrolyte can be recharged at the gas station, for example, using a wind turbine or solar plant.”
So instead of pulling into gas stations for a refill, a vehicle using the redox flow battery would be pulling in to have their batteries recharged. Sounds pretty good right?
As with many of the other concepts aiming to replace gas-powered vehicles, the redox flow battery is still somewhat in the early stages of development. Currently, the team from Germany has created a working 1:10 scale model using older redox flow batteries, and future plans call for the assembly of larger-scale battery packs using it’s refined technology.