MIT students invent electric petrol

Various recent posts on this blog prove how sceptic I am regarding electric vehicles. In one post, I wrote in bold letters: “EV’s are not the future”. Well, it seems I’ll have to eat my words humbly if a new development over at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology gains its deserved ground.

Students there have developed a liquid solution that can store electrical charges, a liquid battery if you will. Electrically charged particles are suspended in an electrolyte solution, then pumped between compartments, each of which are for either storing or releasing the electricity. A possible practical use of this is to use it on electric cars, in a process analogous to our current fill-your-tank with petrol practises. The depleted fluid has to be drained away of course, but then you just refill your tank as conventionally as you would for any ICE. The liquid you pump in and out should be reusable, so you’ll probably only pay for what it costs to recharge that amount of fuel (plus tax and profit margin and that s**t), so in principle, it should be whoppingly cheaper than petrol. And there’s more good news:

The tech supposedly makes the batteries up to ten times more efficient than their traditional counterparts, and even more importantly, the new tech is cheaper to produce. Estimates say that the design could cut the size and expense of current batteries by as much as 50 percent.

However, to me, this sounds almost good enough to be true. There have to be snags. Is this stuff is toxic or not? Is storage is trouble-free, does it give off unwanted gases like car batteries do? Is it environmentally complicated to dispose of? Then it will have to battle the corrupt interests of oil companies, but thankfully enough, it’ll have company. To top it off, it doesn’t solve the problem of the strain it will put on the grid to recharge the stuff. Perhaps the other alt-fuel solutions, such as algal-fuel, hydrogen or biodiesel will solve this.

MIT says it will have a functioning prototype up and running in 18 months, which really isn’t that bad. It’s a lot quicker than most car companies, that have dragged their f**king feet in every other area of alt-fuel development.


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