Redox flow battery electric test model - Click above to enlarge

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal, Germany, are currently working on improving a new type of battery system that promises recharge times on par with the refilling of a conventional fuel tank using something called redox flow batteries. How do they work? We'll let project engineer Jens Noack explain:
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. The pumped-off electrolyte can be recharged at the gas station, for example, using a wind turbine or solar plant.
Intriguing, no? The idea of offloading used-up electrolyte and getting a refill of freshly-charged fluids would likely appeal to the public, which is quite familiar with the process of refilling an automobile for more range. Researchers have just recently figured out how to extend the range of these redox flow batteries to that of comparable lithium ion units.

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 its refined technology.

[Source: Fraunhofer Institute via The Kneeslider]

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