From Nanofluids to Nanoelectrofuels: Suspension Electrodes and Application in Flow Batteries
Engineered nanoparticle suspensions also known as nanofluids, have been extensively studied in the last decades due to their potential applications as advanced heat transfer fluids , but have not attracted attention for their energy storage capabilities. On the macroscale, nanofluids are a liquid phase, easy to store, transport and maintain. At the nanoscale they possess a huge area of solid/liquid interface represented by electrical double layers (capacitors), while a rechargeable nanoparticle material is capable of storing/delivering energy through electrochemical (red/ox) reactions similar to solid-state batteries.
Our approach to suspension electrodes (nanoelectrofuels) uses electroactive nanoparticle suspensions. Nanoparticle suspensions have significantly higher stability than micron-sized suspension due to relative balance of Brownian motion and gravitational forces. In rechargeable nanofluid flow batteries energy is stored in nanoparticles and released through a reversible electrochemical reaction between two cathodic and anodic nanoelectrofuels (NEFs) that are stored externally to the cell stack and circulated through the cells of the stack as required. The combination of NEFs and unique flow battery cells increase the system level energy density of flow batteries to and above that of solid-state lithium-ion batteries. More than 50% improvement in energy density of solid batteries with the same chemistry are possible because of a lower fraction of inactive packaging material that is used in a NEF flow battery.
NEFs can be prepared with as high as 60% solid loading while still keeping the viscosity manageable. The low viscosity of nanoelectrofuels increases the efficiency and power ratings of the flow battery and the nanosized battery materials have demonstrated a significantly faster charge/discharge rate than micron sized anode and cathode materials .
This presentation will cover historical development in the field of suspension electrodes from theoretical and applied perspective with focus on energy storage applications. The nuances of formulating electrochemically active nanofluids will be discussed and also updated results on the development of nanoelectrofuel flow batteries within our research group will be presented.
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