Research Papers

Membrane-Less Hydrogen Iron Redox Flow Battery

[+] Author and Article Information
Kyamra Marma, Jayanth Kolli

Electrochemical and Thermal Energy Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Northern Illinois University,
DeKalb, IL 60115

Kyu Taek Cho

Electrochemical and Thermal Energy Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Northern Illinois University,
DeKalb, IL 60115
e-mail: kcho@niu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received January 19, 2018; final manuscript received May 10, 2018; published online June 26, 2018. Assoc. Editor: George Nelson.

J. Electrochem. En. Conv. Stor. 16(1), 011005 (Jun 26, 2018) (9 pages) Paper No: JEECS-18-1008; doi: 10.1115/1.4040329 History: Received January 19, 2018; Revised May 10, 2018

In this study, a new type of redox flow battery (RFB) named “membrane-less hydrogen-iron RFB” was investigated for the first time. The membrane is a cell component dominating the cost of RFB, and iron is an abundant, inexpensive, and benign material, and thus, this iron RFB without the membrane is expected to provide a solution to the challenging issues of current battery systems such as high cost and safety concerns. The research focus in this study was placed on defining key design parameters to make this new system promising as an RFB. Crossing rate of reactants over carbon porous electrode (CPE) was controlled by modifying its pore structure with Teflon impregnation, and the effects of the Teflon on crossover, kinetic, Ohmic, and mass transfer was investigated by cell-based test and one-dimensional computational model. It was found that the cell performance (i.e., charge and discharge polarization) of the new membrane-less system was equivalent to that of the conventional membrane-system (i.e., RFB having a membrane). Especially, the Ohmic properties of the new system were constant and stable, while in the conventional membrane system, they were significantly varied and deteriorated as cell tests were continued, indicating that degradation or contamination of membrane affecting Ohmic properties could be mitigated effectively in the membrane-less system, which was found first in this research. The modeling analysis provided insight into the system, showing that the effect of reactant crossover on performance decay was not significant, and Teflon impregnation in the CPE caused significant kinetic and Ohmic losses by impeding ion transport and reactant access to reaction sites. From this study, it was found that the membrane-less H2-iron system is feasible and promising in resolving the challenge issues of the conventional systems. And the results of this study are expected to provide guidelines for research and development of flow battery systems without having a membrane.

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Fig. 1

Conceptual schematic diagram of H2/Fe membrane-less flow battery

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Fig. 2

Effect of Teflon contents in carbon porous media on the cell performance

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Fig. 3

Effect of HCl concentration on performance for membrane and membrane-less systems: (a) discharge performance and (b) charge performance

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Fig. 4

Electrochemical impedance measurement: (a) membrane system and (b) membrane-less system

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Fig. 5

One-dimensional control volume of the membrane-less flow battery system

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Fig. 6

Empirical relation: (a) effect of Teflon on the porosity of GDE and (b) effect of porosity on crossover current

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Fig. 7

Comparison of total overpotential between experiment and modeling analysis

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Fig. 8

Variation of different losses with respect to Teflon content in the cathode DM: (a) different overpotentials altogether and (b) distinct losses operating at i = 20 mA/cm2



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