Tuning Carbon Properties For Slurry Flow Electrodes In Vanadium Redox Batteries

This project will explore the role of carbonaceous materials in state-of-the-art all-vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) electrodes. VRFBs are especially suited for large stationary energy storage where volume and weight are not limiting factors and are best for applications such as electrical peak shaving, load levelling, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), and in conjunction with renewable energies (e.g., wind and solar). By changing the battery cell configuration from conventional non-scalable fixed electrodes (Figure, left) to a carbon slurry flow electrode design (Figure, middle) major design and process improvements can be achieved. When 3D-printed conductive static mixers (Figure, right) are introduced alongside, significant increases in the coulombic efficiency of up to 95% and energy efficiencies up to 65% due to improved charge transfer to the particles have been recorded. This project will investigate increasing these efficiencies through research into the properties of the carbon (particle size, shape, internal surface area, pore size distribution) and its behaviour under flow such as shear thinning within the electrolyte system (vanadium). Further, these properties will be tailored to improve and monitor the conductive particle network that forms in the electrolyte during operation of the redox flow battery.

Supervisors:

The University of Melbourne: Amanda Ellis and Sandra Kentish

RWTH Aachen: Matthias Wessling