23% more energy density than lithium battery, Influit Energy flow battery to be commercialized

published: 2022-09-01 9:30 | editor: | category: News

With energy density 23% higher and half the cost of lithium-ion batteries with no need to worry about fire and can be quickly replenish, Influit Energy, a spin-off company of the Illinois Institute of Technology in the United States, said its proprietary flow battery is about to be commercialized.

Flow batteries are mostly composed of two electrolyte tanks. When charging and discharging, the electrolyte will be supplemented to the middle power generation chamber and the power generation chamber will also separate the two solutions with a film to form two electrodes to finally generate ion exchange to generate electricity. Usually Flow batteries are used in long-term energy storage systems but there are also many studies now targeting vehicles and aircraft to provide new solutions for cars or electric vehicles.

It is just that the energy density of flow batteries is often very low because the amount of material that can be dissolved in liquid is limited and it will precipitate at the bottom of the electrolyte tank. Influit said that the team solved this problem through tiny active metal oxide materials. Nanoparticles are suspended in the liquid and Brownian motion prevents the particles from settling.

The company also claims that its nanoparticles have been surface-modified to avoid caking and reduce the viscosity of the solution, so that the electrolyte can eventually flow more or less like motor oil. In order to target the auto market, Influit has also developed vehicle equipment similar to fuel cells, which directly replaces "spent fuel" and replenishes new fuel through "fast refueling tanks."

The team claims that the liquid does not use lithium, heavy metals, or any rare earth elements, and is cheap. If you are worried about the risk of flammability and fire in liquid fuel, Influit pointed out that if you pour the fuel on a fire, it will have a fire extinguishing effect. If cathode and anode liquids are accidentally mixed, temperature will only rise for a short period of time. Influit is also quite confident about its operating temperature and the battery can work normally between -40~80°C.

Influit also claims that its Gen1 system has a volumetric energy density 23% higher than Li-ion batteries, falling between 350~550 Wh/l, and promises that the Gen2 under development has 4-5 times higher energy density than Li-ion batteries at a cost of only one third of that.

At present, Influit has also received funding from the U.S. military and government, for a total of more than $12 million. NASA has funded the development of fast charging systems and the U.S. Air Force has funded refueling nozzles and control systems, and has contributed a lot to the development of ultra-high-density Gen2 fuel systems.

John Katsoudas, co-founder and CEO of Influit, said the company started in 2009 with basic scientific research at the Illinois Institute of Technology and Argonne National Laboratory. From this basic scientific development the company moved to applied science, building prototypes, and now the team has built its first product in development.

In the future, the company will strive to expand scale but commercialization is still a long ways off. There remains many data to be verified whether energy density, charging lifecycle, parts lifespan, maintenance, operate, etc. If development goes smoothly and cost is really as cheap as Influit claims, there is a chance this battery will change the rules of the game.

(Image:Influit Energy)

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