APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Utility grid storage
- Renewable energy storage
- Electrochemical devices
- Polysulfide crossover in redox-flow batteries decreased by a factor of 500
- Higher reliability, efficiency and power for redox-flow batteries
- Low production and maintenance costs
Berkeley Lab researchers have developed ion- and size- selective membranes for application in electrochemical energy storage devices to provide unparalleled crossover blocking characteristics for a broad range of battery chemistries with minimal impact on ion mobility within the supporting electrolyte. A tunable polymer membrane, with approximately 0.8 nm pores, achieved a 500-fold reduction in polysulfide crossover compared to a competitor, leading to improved redox-flow battery performance.
Redox flow batteries have the potential to provide low cost, multi-hour energy storage but are limited by redox active species migrating across the ion-transporting membrane and shorting the battery. The Berkeley Lab membrane platform, with its exceptional ability to block soluble polysulfides dissolved in flowable catholytes, improves battery performance dramatically with minimal impact to ionic conductivity. Nafion, the market leader in battery membranes has failed to provide low cost solutions for crossover in flow batteries. Various materials currently can achieve the needed pore sizes for battery membranes, but their cost limits commercial deployment. The mechanically robust Berkeley lab membranes offer the possibility of more reliable, efficient, and high power electrochemical energy storage grids at extremely low cost.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Initial tests of microporous polymer membrane achieved an increased coulombic efficiency of 20% over conventional battery membranes.
STATUS: Published PCT Patent Application PCT/US2016/025712 (Publication WO2016/161367). Available for licensing or collaborative research.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Li, C., Ward, A. L., Doris, S. E., Pascal, T. A., Prendergast, D., Helms, B. A. “Polysulfide-blocking microporous polymer membrane tailored for hybrid Li-Sulfur flow batteries.” Nano Lett. 2015, 15, 5724-5729.
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