June 8, 2023


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The career of these batteries is just beginning. Vanadium in flow batteries is a thing of the past

Redox flow batteries, which we can also call accumulators, are a type of energy storage that uses chemical reactions to produce energy. Everything happens in the space between two electrochemical cells – the membrane separating them allows for the ion exchange that takes place during the battery’s discharge phase. This is where chemical energy is generated, which is then converted into electrical energy.

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In the construction of such devices, one specific element and heavy metal – vanadium – is at the fore. Unfortunately, it requires a highly concentrated sulfuric acid solution, which corrodes the battery and reduces its performance. In addition, the solubility of vanadium is about 1.6 M and it will only hold one electron per molecule.

Examples of energy storage using flow batteries / Source: Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA-4.0

New compound for flow batteries. Vanadium disappears

scholars who kist (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) and Pohang University of Science and Technology are published in Advanced materials An article in which they investigated the possibility of using an organic compound in a redox flow battery. We are talking specifically about naphthalene diimide (NDI).

NDI is nearly insoluble in water, but that hasn’t stopped the researchers from working on the compound. After his modifications, they achieved a solubility of 1.5 M. Mono-mole NDI tested for battery operation. The results turned out to be poor: after 500 cycles, the battery had maintained 98 percent of its capacity. its original capacity. The decrease was only 0.004 percent. for one cycle. The battery lasted for 45 days during the tests. It only lost 2% over this period. capacity.

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In addition, scientists discovered that naphthalene diimide can store 2 moles of electrons in one mole of solution. This is more when compared to vanadium, which actually results in a much higher capacity. In addition, NDI is an organic compound, unlike vanadium, which must be extracted from permeable rock deposits.

The discovery by Korean scientists shows the future of flow batteries in a whole new light. In times when the need for energy storage is more and more, NDI technology may be of interest to many manufacturers.