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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P003494/1
Title: Zinc-Nickel Redox Flow Battery for Energy Storage
Principal Investigator: Li, Professor X
Other Investigators:
Mallick, Professor TK Brandon, Professor NP Shah, Dr AA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr V Yufit
Project Partners:
C-Tech Innovation Ltd WhEST
Department: Engineering
Organisation: University of Exeter
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 15 November 2016 Ends: 13 May 2020 Value (£): 838,946
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Storage
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Jun 2016 Supergen Energy Storage II Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form

With a number of advantages over other existing energy storage system (ESS) including flexibility, mobility, depth of discharge, rapid response, and safety, redox flow batteries (RFB) are one of the most promising and versatile options for grid scale energy storage, potentially enabling the integration of intermittent but growing fast renewable energy sources into power grids. RFB represent one class of electrochemical ESS and have been attracting attention over last two decades. Several chemistries of RFBs have been studied. However none of them fully meet the cost and performance requirements. Significant developments are required at all levels: investigation of new chemistries, materials engineering, cell design and long-term performance characterization in realistic environments.

This project will investigate an innovative RFB system based on nickel and zinc redox couples. The zinc-nickel system is promising due to the low cost and material abundance of its redox couples, their environmentally acceptable chemistry, high standard electrode potential and high power and energy densities. The scope of this project is on the improvement of materials and engineering design, combined with advanced characterisation techniques and computational modelling to gain fundamental insights and accelerate progress towards a high-performance, durable cell design. The programme will be focused on ways to improve the morphology of thick zinc electrodeposits when subjected to multiple deposition/dissolution cycles, and methods to increase the charge capacity of the positive electrode in flowing electrolyte conditions.

In addition, the system is a membrane-free flow battery, which differs from conventional flow battery technologies since it employs only a single electrolyte and therefore operates without a need in membrane separator; this reduces the cost and design complexity of the batteries significantly. Overall, the performance of the Zn-Ni battery should compare well with existing redox flow batteries.

The project will be a collaborative research endeavour between highly experienced researchers with internationally recognised expertise in flow batteries from the University of Exeter, Imperial College London and the University of Warwick.

Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.ex.ac.uk