A Recipe for Powering Next-Generation Electric Vehicles

GE and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are exploring a possible key to energy storage for electric vehicles. 

The GE/Berkeley team is developing a water-based, flow battery capable of more than just traditional, stationary energy storage. The chemistries GE scientists are developing will enable a flow battery that derives its power from a novel electrochemical reaction that all resides safely in a bath of water.

The proposed flow battery uses water-based solutions of inorganic chemicals that are capable of transferring more than one electron, providing high-energy density. Discharge and recharge of such flow batteries occur in electrochemical cells separated from energy storing tanks, which makes them safer.

The new battery could be just one-fourth the cost of comparable car batteries on the market today and have a driving range of 240 miles. That’s three times the current range. The GE/Berkeley team is working on an ARPA-E RANGE project to develop affordable energy storage solutions.

In addition to offering significant advantages in terms of cost and range, the flow battery GE is researching would offer safety improvements over batteries used in cars today, and could be easily integrated into current car designs; both stated goals of ARPA-E’s RANGE program.