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  • 1.
    Dumancic, Dominik
    Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology.
    Flow batteries: Status and potential2011Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
    Abstract [en]

    New ideas and solutions are necessary to face challenges in the electricity industry. The application of electricity storage systems (ESS) can improve the quality and stability of the existing electricity network. ESS can be used for peak shaving, instead of installing new generation or transmission units, renewable energy time-shift and many other services.

    There are few ESS technologies existing today: mechanical, electrical and electrochemical storage systems. Flow batteries are electrochemical storage systems which use electrolyte that is stored in a tank separated from the battery cell.

    Electrochemistry is very important to understand how a flow battery functions and how it stores electric energy. The functioning of a flow battery is based on reduction and oxidation reactions in the cell. To estimate the voltage of a cell the Nernst equation is used. It tells how the half-cell potential changes depending on the change of concentration of a substance involved in an oxidation or reduction reaction.

    The first flow battery was invented in the 1880’s, but was forgotten for a long time. Further development was revived in the 1950’s and 1970’s.

    A flow battery consists of two parallel electrodes separated by an ion exchange membrane, forming two half-cells. The electro-active materials are stored externally in an electrolyte and are introduced into the device only during operation.

    The vanadium redox battery (VRB) is based on the four possible oxidation states of vanadium and has a standard potential of 1.23 V. Full ionic equations of the VRB include protons, sulfuric acid and the corresponding salts. The capital cost of a VRB is approximately 426 $/kW and 100 $/kWh.

    Other flow batteries are polysulfide-bromine, zinc bromine, vanadium-bromine, iron-chromium, zinc-cerium, uranium, neptunium and soluble lead-acid redox flow batteries.

    Flow batteries have long cycle life and quick response times, but are complicated in comparison with other batteries.

    Download full text (pdf)
    Flow batteries - Dominik Dumancic
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