A few months ago my wife and son went to an “Eco-marathon”, this marathon challenges student teams from around the world to design, build and test ultra energy-efficient vehicles. After visiting, my wife and son both received some stuffs including a DIY car kit. The car kit is the size of a “Matchbox” car, the difference is the car had an electric motor that is powered by salt water. Yes, salt water, surprisingly it really runs so fast from just 3 drops of salt water! I did a little experiment on my own by suspending the rear wheels just to know how long it will take to stop from 3 drops of water. I was totally stunned by the result, 30 minutes had passed and I can still hear the car running. And I had to pull out the power source just to make it stop. Imagine putting this technology in a real car would be incredibly awesome!

Well the “Salt Water Car” is now a reality!
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The car is called the Quant e-Sportlimousine, which made its debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. It is the first electric car powered by salt water. The e-Sportlimousine, built by the German company Quant runs on an electrolyte flow cell power system as a part of its NanoFlowcell technology. However, they claimed that the car has peak power of 920 horsepower (680 kW), 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 217.5 mph (350 km/h).

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A few months after making a debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, the saltwater technology has now been certified for use on European roads.
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2014 Geneva Motor Show
The car carries the water (salt water) in two 200-liter tanks, which in one sitting will allow drivers to travel up to 373 miles (600 km).
Nunzio La Vecchia, chief technical officer at NanoFlowcell
Nunzio La Vecchia, chief technical officer at NanoFlowcell

Overall, the four-seater is 5.25 metres (0.4ft) long, 2.2 metres wide (7.2ft), the 1.35 metre (4.4ft). Its 22-inch wheels sit just beneath double gull-wing doors which feature ‘Chrystal Lake Blue’ paint. Inside is a full-length interactive dash, with wood-theme features and an Android-based entertainment system.

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Maybe you’re wondering what is an electrolyte flow cell? “Flow cells or flow batteries are a very modern form of energy storage device. Flow cells are chemical batteries, combining aspects of an electrochemical accumulator cell with those of a fuel cell. In the compact cell, a “cold burning” takes place, during which oxidation and reduction processes happen in parallel. The electrolytic fluids in flow cells – usually metallic salts in aqueous solution – are pumped from tanks through the cell. This forms a kind of battery cell with a cross-flow of electrolyte liquid.”

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The system works in a similar way to a hydrogen fuel cell, except for the fact that salt water is used for storing power. In particular, two liquids with metallic salts, which act as the electrolyte, are combined in such a way that the electrochemical reaction takes place. After that, electric motors use this reaction to generate electricity, which is then stored and distributed by super capacitors. The system is also extremely safe to operate and environmentally friendly. The efficiency of this system reaches 80%, since the car has almost no moving parts in it, and the produced waste heat is insignificant in comparison with cars powered by lithium-ion batteries.

What is the nanoFLOWCELL®?

“The nanoFLOWCELL® is an especially powerful and compact flow cell battery. Its excellent scalability, simple construction, and easy operation give it decisive advantages for use in the construction of electric automobiles.

To charge or discharge the nanoFLOWCELL®, two different electrolytic solutions are pumped through the appropriate battery cell in which an electrode (anode or cathode) is located. A membrane that is it bit like very sturdy household cling film separates the two electrolyte chambers and their differing chemistries. No mixing occurs between the high-charge ion carrier and the low-charge one; this would be useless for producing electrical power.”

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However, there is no price or sale date has yet been revealed for Quant e-Sportlimousine, but some experts suggest it could cost more than £1 million ($1.7 million). If NanoFlowcell technology will be used in more affordable cars, there would be great revolution in automobile industry. Because this technology has a great potential and could be used in a wide range of applications which go way beyond the automobile market.

Prof. Jens-Peter Ellermann, Chairman of the Board of NanoFlowcell AG says “The potential of the NanoFlowcell is much greater, especially in terms of domestic energy supplies as well as in maritime, rail and aviation technology. The NanoFlowcell offers a wide range of applications as a sustainable, low cost and environmentally-friendly source of energy.”

Sources: Intelligent Living, Daily Mail, The Mind Unleashed