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Understanding the role of the porous electrode microstructure in redox flow battery performance using an experimentally validated 3D pore-scale lattice Boltzmann model

Zhang, Duo, Forner-Cuenca, Antoni, Taiwo, Oluwadamilola O., Yufit, Vladimir, Brushett, Fikile R., Brandon, Nigel P., Gu, Sai and Cai, Qiong (2019) Understanding the role of the porous electrode microstructure in redox flow battery performance using an experimentally validated 3D pore-scale lattice Boltzmann model Journal of Power Sources.

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The porous structure of the electrodes in redox flow batteries (RFBs) plays a critical role in their performance. We develop a framework for understanding the coupled transport and reaction processes in electrodes by combining lattice Boltzmann modelling (LBM) with experimental measurement of electrochemical performance and X-ray computed tomography (CT). 3D pore-scale LBM simulations of a non-aqueous RFB are conducted on the detailed 3D microstructure of three different electrodes (Freudenberg paper, SGL paper and carbon cloth) obtained using X-ray CT. The flow of electrolyte and species within the porous structure as well as electrochemical reactions at the interface between the carbon fibers of the electrode and the liquid electrolyte are solved by a lattice Boltzmann approach. The simulated electrochemical performances are compared against the experimental measurements with excellent agreement, indicating the validity of the LBM simulations for predicting the RFB performance. Electrodes featuring one single dominant peak (i.e., Freudenberg paper and carbon cloth) show better electrochemical performance than the electrode with multiple dominant peaks over a wide pore size distribution (i.e., SGL paper), whilst the presence of a small fraction of large pores is beneficial for pressure drop. This framework is useful to design electrodes with optimal microstructures for RFB applications.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Chemical and Process Engineering
Authors :
Forner-Cuenca, Antoni
Taiwo, Oluwadamilola O.
Yufit, Vladimir
Brushett, Fikile R.
Brandon, Nigel P.
Date : 1 October 2019
Funders : Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), The EU FP7 IPACTS, iComFluid Projects
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Uncontrolled Keywords : Redox flow battery; Porous electrodes; Lattice Boltzmann model; X-ray computed tomography; Electrochemical performance
Additional Information : We would like to thank Dr Farid Tariq from Addionics (UK), Dr Antonio Bertei from the University of Pisa (Italy), Kevin Tenny, Charles Wan and other members of the Brushett group for the fruitful discussion. The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this work by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) projects (EP/K036548/2, EP/M027066/1, EP/R021554/1); the EU FP7 IPACTS (grant number 268696); and iComFluid Projects (grant number 312261). Work at MIT was supported as part of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), an Energy Innovation Hub funded by the United States Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences. AFC gratefully acknowledges the postdoctoral fellowship support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (P2EZP2-172183).We also acknowledge travel support from the MIT-Imperial College London seed fund through the MIT International Science and Technology Initiative.
Depositing User : Diane Maxfield
Date Deposited : 17 Oct 2019 13:51
Last Modified : 17 Oct 2019 14:02

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