Journal of Power Sources, Vol.404, 20-27, 2018
Effect of flow field geometry on operating current density, capacity and performance of vanadium redox flow battery
Addition of flow fields to carbon paper electrodes in a vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) can improve the peak power density through uniform distribution of electrolyte in the electrodes. However, it is unclear whether flow fields have a similar effect with graphite felt electrodes, as VRFBs with felt electrodes reported in literature show a large anomaly in obtained power density. In this work, we evaluate three flow fields; viz. serpentine, interdigitated and conventional (without flow pattern) type with felt electrodes and compare their performance with a serpentine flow field using carbon paper electrodes under identical experimental conditions. The conventional flow field provides highest energy efficiency (75%) followed by serpentine (64%) and interdigitated (55%) at 0.2 A cm(-2) attributable to the deteriorating electrolyte distribution in the electrodes. Computation fluid dynamic simulations confirm the experimental finding of worsening electrolyte distribution (conventional < serpentine < interdigitated). A power density of 0.51 W cm(-2) at 60 mL min(-1) flow rate is obtained for serpentine and conventional flow fields with felt electrodes; comparable to the highest power density reported in literature for high performing zero-gap flow field architecture. This paper gives comprehensive insights on flow fields for VRFBs that can be extended to other flow batteries.