Two Purdue professors are looking to take electric vehicle technology to the next level. The pair says its “refillable” battery could provide enough energy for a car to run about 3,000 miles.
John Cushman, distinguished professor of earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences and mechanical engineering professor Eric Nauman have co-founded IFBattery in hopes of commercializing the technology.
Cushman calls the battery a “very novel construct.” The company says the patented technology recharges electric and hybrid vehicle batteries by replacing their fluid every 300 miles in a process similar to filling up at a gas station. The anode material, or negative electrode in lithium-ion batteries, is replaced every 3,000 miles. IFBattery says that process takes about as much money and time as an average oil change.
“This has been a very exciting time for us because all the advances in the chemistry are now getting implemented in a variety of vehicles,” says Nauman. “So we’re going to hit three thousand, six thousand miles for our next-generation electric car.”
The company first showcased the technology in 2017, successfully testing it in golf carts and industrial vehicles such as forklifts. Since then, the prototyping has ramped up.
“We’re able to do it because we’ve been prototyping this thing up from the scooter level, up to off-road vehicle here, and then next step is full automotive,” says Nauman. “Based on the technology advances that we’ve developed here and some of the chemistry advances that just keep coming, we’ve gotten to the point where our next-generation electric vehicle is going to be lighter and more efficient than current vehicles.”
The technology differs from other electric cars like Tesla, which use lithium-ion batteries that often need to be plugged in overnight. IFBattery’s product uses a water-based fluid that runs the car through “a hybrid of a battery and a gas,” says Nauman. The spent battery fluids can be recharged at a solar farm, wind turbine installation or hydroelectric plant.
The company is continuing to show off its technology. Cushman has presented at the International Society for Porous Media’s ninth annual international conference in the Netherlands and tenth in New Orleans. In May, it will present at the eleventh annual conference in Spain.
Purdue says its ties to IFBattery reflects its goal to be “an intellectual center solving real-world issues.” The company licensed part of the technology through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.
As IFBattery continues to develop what it calls game-changing electric vehicle technology, the company says it’s bullish on what the battery represents: “the full circle of energy with very little waste.”
You can see a video the company produced about the technology below: