Break-through in e-car battery technology ahead?

January 30, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
NanoFlowCell AG, an arcane company from the tiny state of Liechtenstein, plans introduce an electric vehicle equipped with an innovative fuel cell technology at the imminent Geneva International Motor Show. The NanoFlowCell energy storage will enable significant improvements over current fuel cell technologies, the company says.

According to a spokesperson, the fuel cell system of the four-seater sports car will feature much faster charging cycles than conventional lithium-ion batteries. Fuel cells based on flow cell technology can be recharged simply and quickly by exchanging the electrolyte liquid. With this method, a large battery for an electric vehicle can be recharged in the same time one would spend to refill the fuel tank of a conventional vehicle.

Currently the redox technology is utilized as buffer for electric energy in stationary installations, for instance in photovoltaics or wind parks. In cars, the technology has yet failed to achieve a breakthrough - its power density is much lower than the power density of lithium-ion batteries and hence redox batteries capable to store sufficient power must be heavy and voluminous.

The Quant sports car will be equipped with a more sophisticated system, the company says. The name of the technology hints to how the improvement has been achieved: By utilizing nanotechnologies. Asked for technical details, a company spokesperson was not overly talkative. He said that the technology is a further development of redox flow batteries, enhanced by some element of nanotechnology. "It is not a research vehicle, it is a prototype", he said. At the Geneva show, the company will announce a partnership with a major player in the automotive industry.

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