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Redox-Flow Batteries Employing Oligomeric Organic Active Materials and Size-Selective Microporous Polymer Membranes

United States Patent Application

View the Complete Application at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management Department Website
Intermittent energy sources, including solar and wind, require scalable, low-cost, multi-hour energy storage solutions to be effectively incorporated into the grid. Redox-flow batteries offer a solution, but suffer from rapid capacity fade and low Coulombic efficiency due to the high permeability of redox-active species across the battery's membrane. Here we show that active-species crossover can be arrested by scaling the membrane's pore size to molecular dimensions and in turn increasing the size of the active material to be above the membrane's pore-size exclusion limit. When oligomeric redox-active organic molecules were paired with microporous polymer membranes, the rate of active-material crossover was either completely blocked or slowed more than 9,000-fold compared to traditional separators at minimal cost to ionic conductivity. In the case of the latter, this corresponds to an absolute rate of ROM crossover of less than 3 .mu.mol cm.sup.-2 day.sup.-1 (for a 1.0 M concentration gradient), which exceeds performance targets recently set forth by the battery industry. This strategy was generalizable to both high and low-potential ROMs in a variety of electrolytes, highlighting the importance of macromolecular design in implementing next-generation redox-flow batteries.
Helms, Brett A. (San Francisco, CA), Doris, Sean E. (San Francisco, CA), Ward, Ashleigh L. (Berkeley, CA), Frischmann, Peter D. (Berkeley, CA), Chenard, Etienne (Urbanna, IL), Gavvalapalli, Nagarjuna (Urbanna, IL), Moore, Jeffrey S. (Savoy, IL)
15/ 606,961
May 26, 2017
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT [0002] The invention described and claimed herein was made in part utilizing funds supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231 between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Regents of the University of California for the management and operation of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The government has certain rights in this invention.