Washington, Jun 4- Scientists are developing instantly rechargeable batteries for electric and hybrid vehicle that are safe, affordable and more environment- friendly than existing technologies. The new technology will do away with the need to stop and recharge an electric cars battery, and dramatically reduce the need for new infrastructure to support re-charging stations, researchers said. The energy storage system, developed by the researchers from Purdue University in the US, would enable drivers to fill up their electric or hybrid vehicles with fluid electrolytes to re-energise spent battery fluids much like refuelling their gas tanks.
The spent battery fluids or electrolyte would then be collected and taken to a solar farm, wind turbine installation or hydroelectric plant for re-charging, researchers said. “Instead of refining petroleum, the refiners would reprocess spent electrolytes and instead of dispensing gas, the fuelling stations would dispense a water and ethanol or methanol solution as fluid electrolytes to power vehicles,” said John Cushman from Purdue University. Users would be able to drop off the spent electrolytes at gas stations, which would then be sent in bulk to solar farms, wind turbine installations or hydroelectric plants for reconstitution or re-charging into the viable electrolyte and reused many times, researchers said.
“It is believed that our technology could be nearly drop-in ready for most of the underground piping system, rail and truck delivery system, gas stations and refineries,” Cushman said. “Other flow batteries exist, but we are the first to remove membranes which reduces costs and extends battery life,” said Mike Mueterthies, doctoral teaching and research assistant at Purdue University. “Membrane fouling can limit the number of recharge cycles and is a known contributor to many battery fires,” but out components are safe enough to be stored in a family home, are stable enough to meet major production and distribution requirements and are cost effective,” Cushman said.