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MIT developed Cambridge Crude  (Source: MIT)
Battery can be recharged as quickly as pumping gas today

A group of researchers at MIT has developed a new battery system that could be a breakthrough for the storage of energy for electric vehicles. Researchers claim that recharging the new battery design can be as simple and fast as fueling up the tank on a gasoline vehicle today.
The semi-solid flow cell battery has particles suspended in a liquid carrier that is pumped thorough the system. The anode and cathode of the battery are compromised of particles suspended in a liquid electrolyte. The liquids are separately pumped though a system separated by a thin porous membrane.

Another new and interesting thing about the new battery design is that it separates the functions of storing and discharging energy. The separation of those two functions means the battery can be designed more efficiently. The team thinks the new design will allow for a significantly reduced battery size making EVs lighter and giving them longer range. Flow batteries have been around for a while, but the low energy density of the liquid typically used has meant they needed rapid pumping of fluid.

MIT’s battery design uses a liquid that oozes and can store much more energy without the need of rapid pumping. The team has dubbed the material "Cambridge Crude." The material is described as having similar properties to quicksand in so far as how quicksand can flow but is made of mostly solid particles.

Yury Gogotsi, Distinguished University Professor at Drexel University and director of Drexel’s Nanotechnology Institute, says, “The demonstration of a semi-solid lithium-ion battery is a major breakthrough that shows that slurry-type active materials can be used for storing electrical energy.” This advance, he says, “has tremendous importance for the future of energy production and storage.”

Gogotsi says that the research into finding better cathode and anode materials and electrolytes is ongoing and must be completed before practical version can be developed. He said, "I don’t see fundamental problems that cannot be addressed — those are primarily engineering issues. Of course, developing working systems that can compete with currently available batteries in terms of cost and performance may take years."

The engineering team hopes to have a prototype at the end of a three-year grant period. The grant to fund the research was given under the ARPA-E program in September 2010.

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Any rare earths used?
By bupkus on 6/20/2011 8:53:24 AM , Rating: 4
Oh, man, would I love to see the Chinese left out in the cold with their rare earths investments and their planned price gouging.
True, that they are doing nothing U.S. corporations wouldn't if they were actually earning their huge bonuses.

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Arsynic on 6/20/11, Rating: 0
RE: Any rare earths used?
By fishman on 6/20/2011 9:27:17 AM , Rating: 3
So you have no problem with executive salaries and benefits / golden parachutes soaring at companies that are failing? Typical "drain the company" mindset.

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Arsynic on 6/20/11, Rating: 0
RE: Any rare earths used?
By FaaR on 6/21/2011 4:43:09 AM , Rating: 3
The robber baron oligarchs controlling America today are only too happy when people adopt the attitude you do. It lets them get on with furthering their power takeover undisturbed.

Of course people should care what private companies do. Their actions affect the entire fabric of our society!

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Kurz on 6/20/2011 11:55:24 AM , Rating: 2
umm... it takes two to have a contract.
The share holders, Board of Directors approved the deal with executives. Apparently they are worth that much to the company.

RE: Any rare earths used?
By guffwd13 on 6/20/2011 12:24:55 PM , Rating: 5
umm... last i checked, i believe the whole reason for this bad economy is because a few very large financial institutions made intentional decisions to buy and sell bad investments because they "knew" they could still make money and if not, they were too big to fail because if they did, the economy would be much worse off then if the government had to figure out a way to temporarily rescue them.

basically they made ultra risky bets they knew wouldn't hurt them in the end. why? because on one side they'd make more money and still get their bonuses. on the other, the government would be there to rescue them. so it was a win/win.

how are they allowed to do this? in the 1970s, the government removed personal liability from the actions of a company so that even if someone ultimately made an intentional bad bet, they could still collect their bonus check and walk away without having to worry about going to jail. yes there are ways to pierce the corporate vail, but ask any lawyer how easy that is and they'll tell you you're almost always safe.

after citizens united and other recent policy shifts in legislature, if you're seriously still worried about the government running away with our freedom

doesn't the oil cartel bother you? they can control an inelastic supply just cause they can and there's nothing anyone can do about it... except of course find an alternative source of energy. yeah yeah, let our nations companies drill baby drill.... THEY'RE STILL PART OF THE SAME CARTEL.

its not the government you should be worried about (no 1984 scenarios any more), its the government giving away its ability to ensure the health of capitalism because a pure free market system is not a perfect system. ultimately, it'll end up as the perfect corporate dictatorship.

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Kurz on 6/20/11, Rating: 0
RE: Any rare earths used?
By guffwd13 on 6/20/2011 4:16:13 PM , Rating: 2
The reason for the removal of personal liability was because of lobbying of the part of the finance houses. That's a failure of the system at hand, and only underscores the excessive strength of the corporate world.

Lobbying needs to go, and until it does, nothing is going to keep the businesses in check (from taking over).

Pure capitalism is a disaster because pure capitalism aims to achieve total monopoly. A company that gets big enough, can buy out and crush all competitors and then can charge anything it wants. You want a car? That'll be $57,000 for a KIA, because you need one and we're the only ones who make one. No that start up will fail because we'll buy them out and disassemble it.

I guess what I'm saying is your comment leads me to think you want less government oversight and more corporate power, while at the same time admitting that the governments lack of oversight led to the issue in the 1970s and the current economic climate.

What, exactly do you mean when you make the blanket statement that the government is to blame for everything (and imply that corporations and CEOs are not)?

To me then its not the businesses or the government who failed this country in 2007, it was (greedy) people. And the only way to police those people, and this is a capitalistic concept, is to hold them accountable.

You can't shoot a competitor with a company-issued gun under the guise of business is business and not be held accountable. So why can you intentionally take aim 327 persons' 401k's and walk away unscathed?

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Kurz on 6/20/2011 8:37:13 PM , Rating: 1
First off your notion of Monopolies is false.
There have been only a few natural monopolies in place.
Alcoa Aluminum is one of those few, They couldn't increase the price of their product because Steel indirectly competed against them. Same thing applies to ATT back in the day.

The monopolies and huge corporations you see today are a Product of Corporate welfare and protectionism.

RE: Any rare earths used?
By guffwd13 on 6/21/2011 4:27:35 PM , Rating: 2
No "my" notion of a monopoly is its definition. and the reason they don't exist is because the government actually did its job. you mentioned at&t which is ironic because the government forced them to break into separate components more than once! the most recent was within the past decade or so and that's when verizon was able to come to power.

in a pure, unchecked, unmonitored capitalistic system, pure monopolies is what you'd get. if it weren't for antitrust action, the entire country would be paying your internet, your cable, your cell and home phone (for those who still have one) all to one company: at&t.

and btw, steel does not compete with aluminum. they are two metals with vastly different properties and thus serve very different purposes in the building industry (by far the largest consumer of metal). aluminum also takes significantly more energy to make and its more rare. it only makes sense it costs more.

in other trivia, Alcoa's and U.S. Steel's headquarters sit directly across the Allegheny river from each other...

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Kurz on 6/21/2011 9:03:29 PM , Rating: 1
Local and Federal Governments created the Monopoly that is ATT and then sought to destroy it when it was politically advantageous. They continue to break it up only because they continue to keep creating it.

There is such a thing of being too big. No company could ever inspire to get that big. Past a certain point its impossible to manage. CEO's understand this hence why they typically don't go past their niche area of specialization.

Steel and Aluminum do compete there are many instances where they can be substituted for one another. If Steel was cheap enough you would build your house out of steel instead of wood. It vastly depends on the price of the product.

RE: Any rare earths used?
By AlfB on 6/20/2011 12:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
Thats not really true. Rarely do shareholders have any direct vote on executive compensation and most boards try hard to keep it that way. And the board is usually in the pocket of the CEO. He either got them on the board or had a lot to do with them getting there. Even when shareholders vote, most either do not or just follow the company line. And guess what many board members are, CEOs and Presidents of other companies. It is in their best interests to keep compensation high. Many have clauses that state they must be above the average. Guess what happens to the average when someone gets a raise. I consider most boards to be the fox guarding the hen house.

The problem with executive compensation is that they tend to get huge bonuses when something goes right even if they had little to do with it (economy gets better) or big bonuses when things are bad because they could have been worse if they had not made all those cuts. Worst case is that they do not get a bonus. Its hard living off $1 million plus a year that many tend to get.

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Kurz on 6/20/2011 1:42:03 PM , Rating: 2
Regardless... do you intend for the government regulate the private compensation?

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Boze on 6/20/2011 9:28:16 AM , Rating: 2
Well apparently he's an American citizen that's concerned with both American marketplace dominance and American prosperity. I know that sounds preposterous, even on an American website, but there's still a few Americans out there that believe in this country, even with its myriad faults.

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Amedean on 6/20/2011 10:05:17 AM , Rating: 2
American bashing aren't we.....Good thing this was developed in America.

RE: Any rare earths used?
By jbwhite99 on 6/20/2011 10:32:51 AM , Rating: 3
with Chinese researchers. Have you seen the engineering labs at major universities?

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Kurz on 6/20/2011 10:35:10 AM , Rating: 1
Rare earths are used for the Electric motor, not the batteries.

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Motoman on 6/20/2011 10:53:05 AM , Rating: 3
Not true.

For example, a Prius battery requires somewhere between 10 and 15Kg of Lanthanum.

RE: Any rare earths used?
By Kurz on 6/20/2011 12:06:31 PM , Rating: 2
Opps my bad. I thought they used non rare earths for the battery.

The elephant in the room
By DanNeely on 6/20/2011 9:42:26 AM , Rating: 1
While super fast charging batteries might be a viable option for mobile/handheld devices, the current/voltage levels needed for EVs are not. To charge a car as fast as pumping gas you need a power draw comparable to an entire residential block or two. Even if the grid was updated to be able to handle large numbers of loads like this coming on/off randomly, you run into the problem that this level of power is far beyond a chunky extension cords and into hardwired connections installed by professional electricians only. Your local stop and rob isn't going to be able to provide the service, and you can forget about a terminal in your garage.

RE: The elephant in the room
By chripuck on 6/20/2011 10:12:48 AM , Rating: 4
You're missing the point. Since this battery is in a "liquid" format it can be exchanged via pumps. So you go to a "Battery" station and hook up three hoses to your EV (one for removing the old liquid and two others for pumping in the separately charged liquids.) After a few minutes you have a freshly charged EV.

"Battery" stations would simply have underground storage tanks like the current tanks under gas stations. The liquid would be precharged and shipped to these stations where they would have a much lower voltage requirements to maintain the charge.

By SublimeSimplicity on 6/20/2011 11:07:53 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly! Plus it takes the, "just wait 'til you have to replace the batteries" objection away. Since you're effectively getting a new battery pack every time you fill up.

RE: The elephant in the room
By DougF on 6/20/2011 10:15:42 AM , Rating: 3
From the article, I assume the material being pumped into the battery is already charged, so it would take the time required to do the pumping, not charging the material (electrolyte?). Charging could be done separately at the "refueling" station that has high-power transmission lines to accomodate recharging the "electrolyte" unloaded from the vehicles. Or, it could be done slowly (overnight?) from a home 110 or 220 outlet for those who don't need a "refill"
I see charging stations being popular along long-distance routes, since you could recharge the battery at home.

RE: The elephant in the room
By Motoman on 6/20/2011 11:21:38 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, it's kind of a hybridization of a battery and a fuel cell - swap out the "fuel" for a quick "refill," or plug it in at home for an overnight "recharge."

3 years away from a prototype though. And I have to wonder what the infrastructure needed to make it work at a "sludge" station would look like...and cost.

By superPC on 6/20/2011 9:35:30 AM , Rating: 1
they say the semi liquid battery is like quicksand. that means we need new pumps (can't use pumps currently installed in gas station). also the depleted battery had to be pump out of the vehicle. so there's immense investment to be made if we switch to this type of battery. not to mention massive energy need of the pumping station to recharge all the empty battery. on the plus side: for consumer toping up battery can be as fast as filling up gasoline. not only that but everyone can recharge their own car in their house if they want to. not to mention if there's blackout. we can all just go to the nearest battery station and get a few gallons of battery to power our house.

RE: investment
By Lord 666 on 6/20/2011 10:19:49 AM , Rating: 2
Or it can be pre-packaged in replaceable "gel-packs."

If they change the color of the stuff to blue, then that would be one more Demolition Man prediction that came true.

RE: investment
By cokbun on 6/20/2011 10:23:30 AM , Rating: 2
or like changing oil.

By Shadowmaster625 on 6/20/2011 9:16:52 AM , Rating: 2
If I had a dollar for every battery breakthrough I've read about in the last 10 years I'd be able to buy a chevy volt. But what is the reality of batteries? I did the math on a BIC lighter the other day, and I calculated that it has roughly 40 times the energy density compared to a battery the same size as a BIC lighter. And well over 100 times the energy per gram. You cannot get around the failings of batteries until you remove the oxygen from the battery. Fossil fuels dont contain any oxygen, making them extremely energy dense by being able to use combine with air.

RE: meh
By Kurz on 6/20/2011 12:19:22 PM , Rating: 2
They already have air batteries in development... Though They still need lots of research to get them to recharge. We'll have to wait and see.

By SpudBiscuit on 6/20/2011 10:51:16 AM , Rating: 2
i can't find any indication of the name of the professor who did the work, just a quote by somebody who had nothing to do with it. for a scientist, name recognition is part of the "business model", so please don't forget that information!

By highlander2107 on 6/21/2011 4:46:15 AM , Rating: 2
The engineering team hopes to have a prototype at the end of a three-year grant period. The grant to fund the research was given under the ARPA-E program in September 2010.

2013 - prototype
2018 - available at high-end commercial
2023 - available to mid-range commercial

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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