Prediction of Electrochemical Performance of Lower Temperature Operating Na-NiCl2 Battery

Wednesday, 4 October 2017
Prince George's Exhibit Hall D/E (Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center)
K. Jung, Y. C. Park (Research Institute of Industrial Science and Technology), G. Li (Pacific Northwest National Laboratory), Y. Xu, and C. S. Kim (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Sodium nickel chloride (Na-NiCl2) batteries are gaining growing attentions as a strong potential contender for advanced electric vehicle (EV) and stationary energy storage system (ESS) applications. The cathode compartment of a Na-NiCl2 battery features by a mixture of solid NaCl and Ni granules impregnated with a liquid NaAlCl4 catholyte. During charge-discharge cycles, complicated electrochemical reactions take place, including transportation of Na+ ions through NaAlCl4 catholyte, the dissolution/coarsening of NaCl particles, formation/decomposition of NiCl2 layers on the active Ni surface, and electron transport through the Ni granules. We are developing advanced Na-NiCl2 batteries that operate at relatively lower temperatures of below 200 °C to minimize its cell degradation typically observed at high operation temperature (over ~270 °C) and to enable application of simple and cheaper polymer seals for cell manufacturing. However, the diffusion and the ionic migration kinetics of active Na+ ions are restricted at the lower temperatures that may limit cell performance. In this presentation, we introduce a multi-physics continuum computational model to capture the electrochemical behaviors of planar lower temperature Na-NiCl2 batteries. The computational results will elucidate impacts of (i) cell operation temperatures, (ii) current densities, and (iii) cathode dimensions on the electrochemical performance of prototype planar Na-NiCl2 cells. The developed prediction model is expected to provide a useful guideline for the experimental fabrication of advanced Na-NiCl2 batteries with maximized cell performance at relatively lower temperatures.