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Coming soon: New goo that powers electric car batteries!

June 9, 2011 - Washington

MIT researchers have developed a new battery prototype that promises to be more efficient than existing car batteries.

The new concept could make refueling as quick and easy as pumping gas into a conventional car.

The new goo that powers electric car batteries is actually a flowing electrode that's electrically conductive.

"It's a flowing electrode that's electrically conductive all of the time. That's the secret sauce," Yet-Ming Chiang, the professor of material science and engineering at MIT who led the development, told the Discovery News.

The battery is similar to flow batteries that have been in existence for decades. However, unlike the low-energy batteries of the past, the new battery has a semi-solid flow system that relies on the flow of a concentrated energy-dense suspension of particles dubbed 'Cambridge crude'. Another key difference is that the battery separates the reactor from the reactants.

This goo system has several advantages over fuel cell and regular lithium-ion battery technology, said Chiang.

For one, it allows a larger percentage of the battery to store energy.

"We can go directly from the electrodes and entirely bypass the cell-making part," he said.

Chiang also expects their battery will lower costs because its structure is simpler to manufacture and reduces the expensive components that don't carry energy.

The electro-chemical fuel can be reused so drivers could feasibly swap out a spent tank of for one that's been charged. Since the batteries decouple energy and power, fueling stations could offer different types of electro-chemical fuel.


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