Microstructural engineering of high-power redox flow batteries via non-solvent induced phase separation

Non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) is a versatile synthetic approach to generating porous carbon electrodes with distinct microstructural features. We explore how tuning synthesis conditions impacts the physical properties of the resulting electrodes and then compare the best performers to conventional fibrous electrodes within redox flow cells. We find that NIPS-based electrodes can significantly outperform conventional materials.

Scientific Achievement

Non-solvent induced phase separation (NIPS) is used to develop electrode synthesis-structure-performance relationships, and select samples are incorporated in redox flow batteries (RFBs) which exhibit high power density.

Significance and Impact

In this work, we tailor electrode microstructure by systematically varying the polymer concentration, bath temperature, and solvent type in the NIPS synthesis process. By deterministically tuning electrode properties, we identify samples best suited for RFBs. Improved cell power performance is observed with NIPS-based electrodes as compared to conventional fiber-based electrodes.

Research Details

  • NIPS was used to generate electrodes with seven unique microstructures based on changes in polymer concentration, bath temperature, and solvent type.
  • The phase separation dynamics of polymer blends were investigated using cloud-point and viscosity measurements
  • Permeability and surface measurements were coupled with flow cell testing in aqueous iron and vanadium electrolytes
  • Elevated bath temperature enabled high-surface-area NIPS-based electrodes for high-power-density all-vanadium RFBs

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DOI: 10.1016/j.xcrp.2022.100943

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