New MIT Battery Will Rock EVs

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"This advance has tremendous value for future energy production and storage."

Earth Techling, Nino Marchetti

New MIT batteryThe brainy folks at MIT have a new cool cleantech battery to add to the list—a "significant advance in battery architecture" that "could be a breakthrough for electric vehicles and grid storage." This breakthrough, as MIT puts it, "relies on an innovative architecture called a semi-solid flow cell, in which solid particles are suspended in a carrier liquid and pumped through the system. In this design, the battery's active components—the positive and negative electrodes, or cathodes and anodes—are composed of particles suspended in a liquid electrolyte. These two different suspensions are pumped through systems separated by a filter like a thin porous membrane."

The new design is said to separate "the two functions of the battery—storing energy until it is needed, and discharging that energy when it needs to be used—into separate physical structures." It is this separation that reportedly means batteries can be designed more efficiently.

MIT says a variety of potential advantages are in this battery design, including the reduced size and cost of a complete battery system (all its structural support and connectors) to about 50% current levels; permitting in EV applications, the possibility of 'refueling' by pumping out the liquid slurry and pumping in a fresh, fully charged replacement or quickly swapping out the tanks; and, for energy-storage applications, allowing for large-scale, clean energy storage at low costs.

Drexel University Nanotechnology Institute Director Yury Gogotsi commented on the creation of this battery to MIT, saying, "the demonstration of a semi-solid lithium-ion battery is a major breakthrough that shows that slurry-type active materials can be used for storing electrical energy. This advance has tremendous importance for the future of energy production and storage."

Funding was provided, in part, by grants from the DOD's Defense Advanced Research Projects and Advanced Research Projects.

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