Centre for Sustainable Engineering

Feasibility of biomass-waste derived porous electrodes in advanced redox flow batteries - (The Royal Society International Exchanges, in collaboration with MIT)

Principal investigator:Ana JORGE SOBRIDO
Funding source(s):Royal Society
 Start: 31-03-2022  /  End: 30-03-2024
 Amount: £12000
Research Centre:
Escalating greenhouse gas emissions and associated climate volatility represents an existential threat to humanity. Deep and rapid decarbonization of the global energy systems requires the wholesale replacement of fossil fuels with renewable resources (e.g., wind, solar). However, these resources are intermittent and unpredictable challenging the existing grid infrastructure which is based on the just-in-time dispatchable generation enabled by combustion of fossil fuels. As such, flexible energy management systems, including electrochemical energy storage technologies, are urgently required to enable reliable electricity delivery from the variable assets. Among them, redox flow batteries (RFBs) are excellent candidates for large-scale, long duration energy storage due to their flexible design, long service life, high reliability, and environmental friendliness. Nevertheless, this technology is still in its infancy in terms of optimisation of materials and battery design that can lead to improvement in performance and cost. This proposal seeks to improve upon one of their performance-determining components: the electrodes. We will use electrospinning to synthesise sustainable new materials, replacing current fossil-fuel-derived carbon electrodes with electrodes generated from biomass-waste. Electrospinning is a versatile technique that allows the production of freestanding fibrous materials. An additional part of the project will focus on the analysis of viability and economic aspects of using biomass-waste to produce RFB electrodes, while also enabling a finer control of their property sets, through a combination of modelling and experiment, to enhance technical performance and durability.