Electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles could be charged in seconds with a new battery storage system developed by chemists from the Univerity of Glasgow.
In a new paper published in the Nature Chemistry journal, the chemists discuss how they developed a flow battery system using a nano-molecule that can store electric power or hydrogen gas giving a new type of hybrid energy storage system.
Their ‘hybrid-electric-hydrogen’ flow battery, based upon the design of a nanoscale battery molecule can store energy, releasing the power on demand as electric power or hydrogen gas that can be used a fuel.
When a concentrated liquid containing the nano-molecules is made, the amount of energy it can store increases by almost 10 times.
The energy can be released as either electricity or hydrogen gas meaning that the system could be used flexibly in situations that might need either a fuel or electric power.
As the material is a pumpable liquid, one potential benefit of this system is that electric cars could be charged in seconds.
The old battery liquid would be removed at the same time and recharged ready to be used again.
The approach was designed and developed by Professor Leroy Cronin, Dr Mark Symes and Dr Jia Jia Chen.
Professor Cronin 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.’