Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cool New Battery Refuels Or Recharges

MIT University is reporting a real breakthrough in battery technology.

The idea is that the energy, instead of being stored and discharging in the same place, is stored in a liquid form like oil. Then, the movement of the liquid through a membrane creates a flow of electricity: fully charged liquid goes in one side, depleted liquid comes out the other side. (This type of battery design concept has been around for a while, but the MIT team advanced the efficiency of the technology by an order of magnitude.) So, when your electric car runs low on charge, you simply pull into a "gas station", have the old battery fluid pumped out and new battery fluid pumped in. (Like rechargeable batteries, this fluid can be recharged; it is not thrown away. You could drive home with a half-full battery and recharge the fluid yourself as well.)

I've been saying for years that the future of "green technology" relies almost entirely on battery technology: The ability to carry large amounts of stored energy around with us. It is breakthroughs like this that are moving us ever closer to saying goodbye to using oil as an energy source.

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