25 Aug 18

Charging an Electric Car in Seconds

Charging an electric vehicle battery within a couple of seconds, sounds like a futuristic idea? Not anymore, since scientists have developed a revolutionary battery technology.

Scientists of the University of Glasgow (Scotland), with support of the European Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, have created a liquid battery – so far only a prototype - called the hybrid-electric-hydrogen flow battery, which can be recharged in but a couple of seconds.

A Couple of Seconds

The scientists managed to charge nano-molecules and contain these in a pumpable liquid. As a result, instead of charging the battery, which takes a couple of hours, the car has to be fuelled with the charged liquid, which takes no longer than fuelling a diesel or petrol car. 

At the pump station, the used liquid will be pumped out the battery at the same time as the charged liquid will be pumped in (through another withdrawal nozzle), which only takes a couple of seconds. Afterwards, the liquid will be recharged ready for the next use.

10 Times More

However, energy density is a common problem for flow batteries, but necessary for EV batteries, the liquid created by the Glasgow scientists can store almost 10 times more energy than a solid battery, ensuring the high range required for EV applications. What's more, this liquid can be charged by electric power or hydrogen gas, and release the power in both forms as well. 

Due to its form, the developed battery becomes a viable alternative for fossil fuels, which can be charged at the same speed, and at the same type of infrastructure as internal combustion engine driven cars. Moreover, the Glasgow prototype would not age in the same way as current electric batteries, and it could also be used as a stationary energy storage unit. 


According to the team, the difficulty is not the production of the liquid, but scaling up production. At the moment, a small prototype is being upscaled, which goes well. As a result, the researchers are looking forward to a transition period in which fossil fuels and liquid batteries can co-exist, paving the way for the development of new energy storage systems. 

Go with the Flow

Thanks to the promise of a low charging time and a convenient charging way, while ensuring high energy density and, hence, a high range, in combination with the possibility to use electricity or hydrogen to charge the liquid, the Glasgow hybrid-electric-hydrogen flow battery offers a promising energy storage technique.  

Authored by: Fien Van den steen