Nano-molecule storage could charge EVs in seconds

9th September 2018
Caroline Hayes


An energy storage system proposed by chemists from the University of Glasgow, could reduce the charging time of EVs from hours to seconds.

The paper, published today in Nature Chemistry, discussed how the team developed a flow battery system using a nano-molecule that can store electric power or hydrogen gas for a new type of hybrid energy storage system that can be used as a flow battery or for hydrogen storage.

The hybrid-electric-hydrogen flow battery is based on a nanoscale battery molecule that can store energy to release the power on demand as electric power or hydrogen gas that can be used a fuel. A concentrated liquid containing the nano-molecules can store nearly 10 times as much as energy which can be released as either electricity or hydrogen gas, depending on which fuel source is needed.

As a liquid that can be pumped, like petrol today, the EV could be charged in a short time, like filling up the petrol tank at the garage forecourt takes today. 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 (Lee) Cronin, the University of Glasgow’s Regius Chair of Chemistry, and Dr Mark Symes, Senior Lecturer in Electrochemistry, at the University of Glasgow with researcher 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.” This research is funded by the University of Glasgow complex chemistry initiative as well as the European Research Council (ERC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

(Photo: courtesy of INSYS)

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