Technology 361 days ago

Is Electromobility Running Out of Power?!

Some of the few charging-stations for e-cars in Berlin. (picture wikipedia)

Just a few months ago, experts were forecasting a somewhat bleak future for electromobility. According to the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, "Raw material bottlenecks will be unavoidable in the expansion of electromobility."

When the German Aerospace Center and the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy examined the technologies, outlooks and life cycle assessments for electromobility in its "STROMbegleitung" (electricity evaluation) study published in 2015 (download as PDF), nanoFlowcell® was still unheard-of in the realms of electromobility and nanoFlowcell AG an outsider company that didn't show up on any R&D radar. This is all set to change.

The "STROMbegleitung" study was supported with 1.7 million euros of funding from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research as part of the "STROM" programme (key technologies for electromobility), and provides a broad insight into the current technology status, identifies trends and analyses the life cycle impact of various different vehicle concepts.

Insight - lithium-ion battery pack in the Nissan Leaf. (picture wikipedia)

Despite its substantial scope, the study does not provide any really new insights. One of the report's core statements is that raw material bottlenecks will be unavoidable as electromobility develops. Especially in the case of rare earth metals, there is high dependence on just a few supplier nations, a situation that also applies to lithium, the main component of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Demand for lithium reached critical dimensions in all electromobility scenarios considered within the study. Researchers therefore anticipate increasing costs and greater damage to the environment in the extraction of this particular metal. The study's authors thus recommend greater support for research into alternative battery technologies and energy carriers.

Lithium is a very rare commodity. It makes up just 0.006 percent of the earth’s crust. (picture wikipedia)

To assure its independence in research and development, nanoFlowcell AG has never sought or received public research funding. Too often in the past, its founders have experienced that public research plans serve the interests of institutes and academics or are for the purposes of confirming an opinion, rather than driving forward technological, commercial and social change. They are therefore not at all surprised by the study's findings.

"When we began conducting research into the technology behind nanoFlowcell® shortly before the turn of the century, we were seeking a real solution for a real problem and we found it outside of mainstream thinking. Freeing oneself from conventional approaches and mindsets is virtually impossible within existing public research and development frameworks," states Nunzio La Vecchia, inventor of nanoFlowcell® and Chief Technology Officer of nanoFlowcell AG. "However, a general rethinking of research and development into alternative energy storage media is no longer an option; it's the only way forward.

QUANT E – the first road-licensed vehicle powerd by flowcell technology.

nanoFlowcell® technology from the company of the same name, nanoFlowcell AG, is based on flow cell technology and delivers environmentally compatible electricity from the redox reaction of non-toxic and environmentally neutral electrolytes, which can be produced sustainably and economically in unlimited quantities. "nanoFlowcell® offers the potential for sustainable and environmentally friendly electromobility for all," says La Vecchia. Due to its simple scalability, nanoFlowcell® technology can be adapted for a broad spectrum of applications - from mobile use in electric vehicles (cars, trucks and trains), through ships and aircraft to stationary use in individual homes or small communities.

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