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Nanoelectrofuel Flow Battery for Electric Vehicles

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)
Prototype of Rechargeable Nanoelectrofuel Flow Battery for EV Systems with High Energy Density, Low Viscosity and Integrated Thermal Management Function
ARPA-E Award: 
Chicago, IL
Project Term: 
01/01/2014 to 12/31/2015
Project Status: 
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Driving range, safety and cost remain the biggest hurdles in the way of mass electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Innovative approaches to EV battery manufacturing present the opportunity to maximize stored energy relative to the weight of EVs, allowing for up to three times the driving range. These new battery chemistries and designs prevent overheating, are immune to catastrophic failure, and can be incorporated into the structure of a vehicle to improve strength in some cases. Much of this can be accomplished at a 30% lower cost compared to conventional batteries, thus bolstering widespread adoption of EVs.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
IIT is collaborating with Argonne National Laboratory to develop a rechargeable flow battery for EVs that uses a nanotechnology-based electrochemical liquid fuel that offers over 30 times the energy density of traditional electrolytes. Flow batteries, which store chemical energy in external tanks instead of within the battery container, are typically low in energy density and therefore not well suited for transportation. However, IIT/Argonne's flow battery uses a liquid electrolyte containing a large portion of nanoparticles to carry its charge; increases its energy density while ensuring stability and low-resistance flow within the battery. IIT/Argonne's technology could enable a whole new class of high-energy-density flow batteries. This unique battery design could be manufactured domestically using an easily scalable process.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, IIT/Argonne's flow battery would significantly improve the current range of electric vehicles, increase safety, reduce costs and simplify recharging through the use of a pumpable "nanoelectrofuel."
The mass adoption of EVs would diminish the demand for petroleum, dramatically reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
Greater use of EVs would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, 28% of which come from the transportation sector.
Technological advancements from the RANGE program could enable EVs to travel significantly further on a single charge at a much lower cost than that of current EVs and conventional vehicles.
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Grigorii Soloveichik
Project Contact: 
Prof. Carlo Segre
Argonne National Laboratory
Release Date: