At MIT, Professor Yet-Ming Chiang and his team of researchers are trying to reinvent the rechargeable battery for electric vehicles and and grid storage.
The new lightweight and inexpensive batteries would be half the weight and price of current batteries, and would make refueling as easy as filling a traditional tank with gas. No more waiting overnight for a charge.
The new battery relies on an innovative architecture called a semi-solid flow cell, in which solid particles are suspended in a carrier liquid and pumped through the system. Flow-cell batteries have been around for awhile but they use a liquid fuel that is low in energy density and therefore too large and impractical for cars.
The semi-solid flow battery uses a fuel called "Cambridge Crude" designed at MIT, which is 10 times more energy dense than liquid flow-cell, making it compact and lightweight enough for cars.
These batteries are also well suited for large scale electricity storage because they be easily scaled up at a low cost.