nanoFlowcell® – not only different, but unique!

At present, flow cells are generally only known as garage-sized constructions for stationary energy storage in wind turbines and solar systems. But with our nanoFlowcell®, we have managed to bring a flow cell down to the size of a briefcase and at the same time increase the energy density of the electrolytes by a factor of ten. The development of nanoFlowcell® has thus rendered flow cell technology powerful and mobile, opening up completely new technical perspectives for a wide range of applications.

Functionality nanoFlowcell® & bi-ION®

nanoFlowcell®

Complex technology makes clean energy simple

nanoFlowcell® is a scalable energy converter whose membrane chamber contains two electrodes separated by an ion conductor (membrane). The ion conductor consists of a semi-permeable membrane wafer that only allows a certain type of ion present in the bi-ION® molecule to pass through. This is where the ion exchange between the positively and negatively charged electrolyte liquid takes place. The chemical energy of bi-ION® is converted into electrical energy, for example to drive an electric motor or supply energy to electrical consumers. The membrane material and design of the nanoFlowcell® make it suitable for applications ranging from mW to MW and from compact to extremely powerful.

Innovative energy nanoFlowcell® is currently the most innovative and powerful energy carrier for mobile and stationary electric applications. Unlike conventional batteries, the energy of the nanoFlowcell® is provided in the form of liquid electrolytes (bi-ION®), which can be stored outside the cell itself. As with regular flow batteries, the positively and negatively charged electrolyte liquids are stored in two separate tanks and pumped through a transducer (the actual cell of the nanoFlowcell system) in separate circuits, just like in a traditional flow cell.

Here, the two electrolyte circuits are only separated by a permeable membrane. When the positive and negative electrolyte solutions pass along either side of the transducer membrane, an ion exchange takes place. This converts the chemical energy bound in bi-ION® into electricity, which in turn is made immediately available to electrical consumers.

Scalable energy Thanks to the separation of energy converter and energy storage, the amount of energy stored in a nanoFlowcell® is no longer dependent on the size of the cell. This is where a flow cell differs from traditional battery types. With a nanoFlowcell®, the amount of energy provided depends on the electrolyte concentration in the electrolyte liquid on the one hand, and on the volume of the electrolyte tanks on the other hand. nanoFlowcell® technology can therefore be flexibly adapted to a wide variety of applications thanks to its unlimited scalability.

Filling up with electricity What is special about the nanoFlowcell® is that it no longer requires lengthy recharging like conventional batteries or flow cells. Instead, the used bi-ION electrolyte fluid can simply be refilled.

Our nanoFlowcell technology could save an annual 19,250 megatons of CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels in road transport alone. That is 75% of the CO2 emissions generated through transportation and traffic worldwide.

The same procedure, only better In mobile applications, such as the QUANT electric vehicles, used electrolyte fluid is first filtered to remove the dissolved salts and electrolytes. The filter has to be replaced about every 10,000 kilometres and can then be recycled in an environmentally friendly manner. A generator powered by the energy from driving ensures that the remaining water is atomised into water vapour during the journey and released into the atmosphere without harming the environment. The electrolyte tanks are drained during the journey just like the tank in conventional vehicles with a combustion engine. Refilling the empty electrolyte tanks is similar to the refuelling process of a regular petrol- or diesel-powered vehicle.

 

Eco-friendly energy nanoFlowcell® technology is fully eco-friendly and harmless to health. Our nanoFlowcells are manufactured in a very efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly process using common substances and raw materials that are readily available in large quantities. Neither the cells themselves nor the bi-ION® electrolyte solution contain precious metals or rare earth metals. All raw materials required for the nanoFlowcell® and its electrolytes can be harvested sustainably, used without any health risks and then disposed of in an environmentally safe manner.

Durable and recyclable Thanks to its extended service life, the nanoFlowcell® also sets an example when it comes to recycling raw materials. For instance, our nanoFlowcells eliminate the problem of power loss associated with conventional batteries, as they show no memory effect even after 10,000 charging cycles. This means that a nanoFlowcell® can handle up to ten times as many charging cycles as conventional Li-Ion battery systems (Li-Ion battery: approx. 1,000 charging cycles). In a car, that would correspond to a range of around 10,000,000 kilometres, thus far exceeding the service life of modern cars. What’s more, the amount of self-discharge when the cell is not in use is negligible.

Safety guaranteed Another advantage of the nanoFlowcell® over other battery systems is that it is easy to monitor its state of charge, as there is only one electrolyte.

 

There is no need for equalisation charges like in conventional Li-Ion or Li-Po systems. Hazards that can occur in a battery due to unwanted reactions or deep discharge can be technically ruled out with the nanoFlowcell.

Efficiency In contrast to an internal combustion engine, the efficiency of the nanoFlowcell stands at over 90 percent; in electric mobility applications, the operating temperature is only between 90ºC and 130ºC. Moreover, the entire nanoFlowcell system is very reliable and requires little maintenance, as it has no moving parts except for the electrolyte pumps.

The high reliability, low costs and long durability of nanoFlowcells quite rightly place them front and centre when it comes to developing promising electric mobility concepts.

bi-ION® – energy carrier for tomorrow’s electricity

bi-ION® is the brand name for nanoFlowcell’s proprietary electrolyte liquid. It consists of salts, water and the actual energy carriers – specially designed molecules. In a nanoFlowcell®, the chemical energy bound in bi-ION® is converted into electrical energy. The electrolyte solution has a power density comparable to modern lithium-ion batteries, but an energy density that is five times higher. bi-ION® is the perfect propellant for environmentally compatible and sustainable electric drives as well as clean energy for stationary and mobile applications.

bi-ION®

The more you have, the further you go

The maths in a nanoFlowcell® powered vehicle is simple: The more bi-ION® you have, the more energy is available and the further your range will be. We are already familiar with this concept from petrol-powered vehicles. In contrast to conventional batteries, the performance of a nanoFlowcell® does not depend on the size of the cell, but on the concentration and quantity of the electrolyte liquid fed into it.

Innovative charge carrier bi-ION is one of our most important innovations and crucial to the performance characteristics of the nanoFlowcell system. Through years of research, we have succeeded in developing special charge carriers that give our electrolyte liquid a significantly higher power and energy density than any liquid battery currently available on the market.

In our digital simulation lab, we conducted research on new molecular structures and mechanisms for transporting the charge. Our digital simulation capabilities shortened the development time for bi-ION significantly, allowing us to synthesise an initial physical model and carry out in-vivo testing in the space of just five years.

MINI-MAX. The charge carrier we have developed permits a significantly higher concentration than previous electrolytes in conventional flow cells. Unlike the electrolyte tanks of stationary systems, which have a volume of thousands of litres, we only need the tank volume of a conventional car to achieve the performance of our QUANTiNO 48VOLT.

At the current stage of development, bi-ION has an energy density of 600 Wh per litre. Compared with lithium-ion batteries of the kind used in most modern electric vehicles, a nanoFlowcell® running on bi-ION delivers sufficient energy for five times the range of a conventional electric vehicle.

Not different, but better. Unlike conventional energy carriers such as petrol, diesel, hydrogen and lithium-ion batteries, bi-ION is not harmful to health or the environment and is neither flammable nor explosive. Furthermore, bi-ION can be produced in a sustainable and environmentally compatible manner. Industrial production of the electrolyte liquid is much less expensive than refining fossil fuels or producing and using lithium-ion batteries.

Non-political energy. In contrast to fossil fuels, the bi-ION electrolyte solution is not extracted and refined in just a few countries, but can theoretically be manufactured more or less in-situ all over the world (given the appropriate production equipment).

Filling up as usual. Refilling nanoFlowcell-powered electric vehicles with bi-ION is remarkably easy. The process of replenishing the electrolyte liquid is hardly any different from filling up a vehicle with an internal combustion engine, just that nanoFlowcell vehicles need two liquids (one positive and one negative electrolyte solution) to be filled into two separate tanks simultaneously.

Moreover, it is not necessary to set up a separate filling station network for the distribution of bi-ION. Only a few minor modifications to the pumps and nozzles are needed so that existing filling stations can be used for bi-ION as well. Thanks to its properties, the bi-ION electrolyte liquid is not subject to any hazmat regulations, unlike fossil fuels. Producing, transporting and distributing bi-ION is therefore relatively easy.