In partnership with Imperial College London, researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick find a way to enhance hybrid flow batteries and their commercial use.

FREMONT, CA : In partnership with Imperial College London, researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick have found a way to improve hybrid flow batteries and their commercial use. The new method can store electricity in these batteries for a very long period at about one-fifth of the current technologies' cost, with limited location and zero emissions constraints.

In a binder-free electrophoresis method (EPD), the researchers improved three hybrid flow cells by utilizing nitrogen-doped graphene (exposed to nitrogen plasma).

The increasingly common sources of renewable energy are wind and solar power. Unfortunately, intermittency problems preclude them from being broadly connected to the national grid. The implementation of long-duration battery technology, like the redox flow battery, is one possible solution to this issue. This scheme's current expense is a crucial driving factor for real-world adoption, despite its great promise. According to the US Department of Energy, an affordable grid battery could cost £75/kWh. It costs around £ 130/kWh for lithium-ion batteries, which bear the charge for grid storage.

WMG researchers have now discovered a way to develop hybrid flow batteries or regenerative fuel cell (RFC) technology. It can store energy for very long periods at about one-fifth the cost of current storage technologies versatility and limited effect on the environment. The technique uses carbon-based electrodes with economically sourced electrolytes (manganese or sulfur, which are common chemicals on the planet) through simple but highly efficient electrophoretic deposition of nano-carbon (nitrogen-doped graphene) additives that significantly improve the durability and efficiency of the electrodes in highly acidic or alkaline conditions.

In the December 2020 edition of the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, the researchers published their findings in Hybrid Redox Flow Cells with Enhanced Electrochemical Performance through Binderless and Electrophoretically Deposited Nitrogen-Doped Graphene on Carbon Paper Electrodes.

Dr Barun Chakrabarti, a Research Fellow in WMG at the University of Warwick and one of the lead authors on the paper said, "This EPD technique is not only simple but also improves the efficiencies of three different economical hybrid flow batteries thereby increasing their potential for widespread commercial adoption for grid-scale energy storage." 

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