Journal of Power Sources

Mass transport enhancement in redox flow batteries with corrugated fluidic networks

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We propose a facile, novel concept of mass transfer enhancement in flow batteries based on electrolyte guidance in rationally designed corrugated channel systems. The proposed fluidic networks employ periodic throttling of the flow to optimally deflect the electrolytes into the porous electrode, targeting enhancement of the electrolyte-electrode interaction. Theoretical analysis is conducted with channels in the form of trapezoidal waves, confirming and detailing the mass transport enhancement mechanism. In dilute concentration experiments with an alkaline quinone redox chemistry, a scaling of the limiting current with Re0.74 is identified, which compares favourably against the Re0.33 scaling typical of diffusion-limited laminar processes. Experimental IR-corrected polarization curves are presented for high concentration conditions, and a significant performance improvement is observed with the narrowing of the nozzles. The adverse effects of periodic throttling on the pumping power are compared with the benefits in terms of power density, and an improvement of up to 102% in net power density is obtained in comparison with the flow-by case employing straight parallel channels. The proposed novel concept of corrugated fluidic networks comes with facile fabrication and contributes to the improvement of the transport characteristics and overall performance of redox flow battery systems.