A New Enclosed Design for Vanadium Redox Flow Battery Cells

Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Grand Ballroom (Hilton New Orleans Riverside)
M. Al-yasiri (Missouri of science and technology) and J. Park (Missouri University of Science and Technology)

Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries (VRFBs) represent one class of electrochemical energy storage devices, which are principally nominated for stationary applications. In this work, a new enclosed-type single-cell design of VRFB that includes serpentine flow channels is fabricated and tested experimentally. The introduced design includes desirable features such as safety, ease of assembly, and fewer components than traditional VRFB cells, meaning that it does not require gaskets, insulators, graphite plates, and end plates, making it a very cost-effective design. It also has more mechanical strength due to the replacement of the graphite flow field plate (brittle and porous) with a hard and impermeable thermostatic material, PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) sheet, which ensures a longer lifespan, especially in harsh environments exposed to shocks and vibrations. Many tests have been conducted in order to compare this new design with the traditional one, including cycling, polarization over a range of currents along with a range of flow rates, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) for internal resistance analysis. The results show that the new design has very stable cycling performance with better columbic and energy efficiencies compared to the traditional one, also it reflects the normal behavior of single cycles at different loading conditions, and it can provide more output current through the polarization test and, subsequently, higher output power. Finally, an economic analysis was conducted that compares the costs associated with the two designs and it is found that the new one is cheaper, less weight, and easy assembly.