Why it matters to you
Electric vehicles seem well on their way to becoming the latest automotive trend, but finding a good way to power them has been a challenge. Purdue University may have an answer.
Thanks to a new technology from Purdue University researchers, we may in time be driving cars that are powered by an “instantly rechargeable” battery (called Ifbattery) that are considered safe, affordable, and environmentally friendly. Capable of recharging both electric and hybrid vehicle batteries, the process would be similar to that of refueling with gas, but instead of using fossil fuels, we’d be using electricity.
“Designing and building enough of these recharging stations requires massive infrastructure development, which means the energy distribution and storage system is being rebuilt at tremendous cost to accommodate the need for continual local battery recharge,” said Eric Nauman, co-founder of Ifbattery and a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering, basic medical sciences and biomedical engineering. “Ifbattery is developing an energy storage system that would enable drivers to fill up their electric or hybrid vehicles with fluid electrolytes to re-energize spent battery fluids much like refueling their gas tanks.”
Ifbattery depends on an energy storage system that lets drivers fill up on fluid electrolytes in order to re-energize used battery fluids. Spent electrolytes could be quickly dropped off 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,” explained John Cushman, Purdue University distinguished professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary science, who led the research team responsible for the technology.
“Electric and hybrid vehicle sales are growing worldwide and the popularity of companies like Tesla is incredible, but there continue to be strong challenges for industry and consumers of electric or hybrid cars,” Cushman said. “The biggest challenge for industry is to extend the life of a battery’s charge and the infrastructure needed to actually charge the vehicle. The greatest hurdle for drivers is the time commitment to keeping their cars fully charged.”
But now, that hurdle may have been crossed, as this latest innovation could eliminate the time needed to recharge a car battery, and furthermore, reduce the need for potentially expensive recharging stations.
Next up for the Ifbattery team is finding additional financing, as the researchers hope to soon build large-scale prototypes and find manufacturing partners.