What's the Latest Development?

At the engineering labs of M.I.T., a whole new kind of car battery is under development. The new technology combines the best aspects of traditional batteries with fuel cells. "The battery is similar to flow batteries that have been in existence for decades. However, unlike the low-energy batteries of the past, the new battery has a semi-solid flow system that relies on the flow of a concentrated energy-dense suspension of particles dubbed 'Cambridge crude.' Another key difference is that the battery separates the reactor from the reactants."

What's the Big Idea?

What advantages would a goo-powered battery have over fuel cell and regular lithium-ion battery technology? The most obvious is that a larger percentage of the battery can story energy. "We can go directly from the electrodes and entirely bypass the cell-making part," said Yet-Ming Chiang, the professor of material science and engineering at M.I.T. who led the development. "Chiang also expects their battery will lower costs because its structure is simpler to manufacture and reduces the expensive components that don't carry energy."