'Cambridge Crude' Semi-Solid Flow Cell Battery

'Cambridge crude' is a remarkable advance in battery architecture; it disdains the rigid structures we are familiar with in favor of a semi-solid flow cell in which solid particles are suspended in a carrier liquid and pumped through the system.


(MIT semi-solid flow cell)

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, such as a thin porous membrane...

One important characteristic of the new design is that it separates 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. (In conventional batteries, the storage and discharge both take place in the same structure.) Separating these functions means that batteries can be designed more efficiently...

The new design should make it possible to reduce the size and the cost of a complete battery system, including all of its structural support and connectors, to about half the current levels. That dramatic reduction could be the key to making electric vehicles fully competitive with conventional gas- or diesel-powered vehicles, the researchers say.

Another potential advantage is that in vehicle applications, such a system would permit the possibility of simply “refueling” the battery by pumping out the liquid slurry and pumping in a fresh, fully charged replacement, or by swapping out the tanks like tires at a pit stop, while still preserving the option of simply recharging the existing material when time permits.

SF fans may recall the capacitance gel from the 1993 movie Demolition Man:

00:27:02 Go to Century City, 1200 millimeters.
00:27:12 He's going for the vehicle's battery coil.
00:27:15 It's pure capacitance gel.
00:27:26 The problem is not the defacement ofpublic buildings or...
00:27:29 ...the noise pollution caused by the exploding devices.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for tipping me and providing the reference. From MIT via Next Big Future

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