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July 17, 2017 9:45 AM, EDT
Instantly Rechargeable Vehicle Battery Emerges at Purdue
Battery test tube Purdue University

A technology developed by researchers at Purdue University could provide an “instantly rechargeable” method that is safe, affordable and environmentally friendly for recharging electric and hybrid vehicle batteries, according to the West Lafayette, Ind., school.

The process is similar to refueling a car at a gas station. Dubbed the Ifbattery, the energy storage system would enable drivers to fill up their electric or hybrid vehicles with fluid electrolytes to re-energize spent battery fluids much like refueling their gas tanks.

“We definitely view this as something that would allow you to just refuel at the truck stop and go. That is one of the big advantages of the system,” Ifbattery co-founder Eric Nauman told Transport Topics.

However, that is a ways off.

“We haven’t looked at [battery] systems for big trucks yet, but we are confident they will be much lighter than the current batteries. I just don’t have an official number for you yet,” said Nauman, who also is a professor of mechanical engineering, basic medical sciences and biomedical engineering at Purdue.

With Ifbattery technology “refiners would reprocess spent electrolytes and instead of dispensing gas, the fueling stations would dispense a water and ethanol or methanol solution as fluid electrolytes to power vehicles,”Ifbattery co-founder John Cushman said in a statement. Cushman also is distinguished professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary science and a professor of mathematics at Purdue.

Ifbattery licensed part of the technology through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization and has developed patents of its own.

“We are at a stage in the company’s growth that we are looking for additional financing to build large-scale prototypes and subsequently manufacturing partners,” Cushman said.