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Enhancing the Performance of Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries using Quinones
Chemical and Materials Engineering
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The global dependence on fossil fuels continues to increase while the supply diminishes, causing the proliferation in demand for renewable energy sources. Intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, require electrochemical storage devices in order to transfer stored energy to the power grid at a constant output. Redox flow batteries (RFB) have been studied extensively due to improvements in scalability, cyclability and efficiency over conventional batteries. Vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFB) provide one of the most comprehensive solutions to energy storage in relation to other RFBs by alleviating the problem of cross-contamination. Quinones are a class of organic compounds that have been extensively used in chemistry, biochemistry and pharmacology due to their catalytic properties, fast proton-coupled electron transfer, good chemical stability and low cost. Anthraquinones are a subcategory of quinones and have been utilized in several battery systems. Anthraquinone-2, 6-disulfonic acid (AQDS) was added to a VRFB in order to study its effects on cyclical performance. This study utilized carbon paper electrodes and a Nafion 117 ion exchange membrane for the membrane-electrode assembly (MEA). The cycling performance was investigated over multiple charge and discharge cycles and the addition of AQDS was found to increase capacity efficiency by an average of 7.6% over the standard VRFB, while decreasing the overall cycle duration by approximately 18%. It is thus reported that the addition of AQDS to a VRFB electrolyte has the potential to increase the activity and capacity with minimal increases in costs.