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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T01816X/1
Title: Rethinking Redox Flow Batteries
Principal Investigator: Dryfe, Professor RAW
Other Investigators:
Bissett, Dr MA
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Natural Power Technical Fibre Products Ltd
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: University of Manchester, The
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 April 2020 Ends: 31 March 2023 Value (£): 655,109
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Storage
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
03 Dec 2019 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 3 and 4 December 2019 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Concerns about climate change and urban pollution have prompted a shift from our current over-reliance on energy derived from oil, coal and gas. Technological advances have made it easier to extract energy from "renewable " sources - solar, wind, tidal - however a defining feature of such sources is their intermittent nature, so they can only be reliably exploited if there are ways to store that energy. Electricity cannot be stored, but electricity can be used to drive electrochemical reactions which store the electrical energy as chemical energy. This is the basis of a battery - achieving efficient energy storage, using electrochemical means, is therefore one of the most prominent technological challenges facing the UK and, indeed, all advanced economies.

Small scale devices based on lithium ion battery (LIB) technology have revolutionised power requirements for mobile devices over the last decade. In the current decade, a shift in energy storage methods for electric vehicles is underway with increasing interest (and sales) of LIB powered cars . The next challenge is to "scale up" the energy storage process to the scale of the electrical grid - can we develop large scale batteries which would enable us to store large amounts of electricity to power houses, schools and factories? The UK is blessed with ample (potential) wind, tidal and wave resources: although there are technical challenges involved in harnessing these resources, there is also a need to develop cheaper batteries which would not necessarily be based on LIB technology - because the batteries themselves would be stationary, so their mass and size becomes less important than their cost and lifetime.

This proposal seeks to develop the basis of an alternative battery technology called the redox flow battery which is designed for large-scale storage. The proposal does not seek to develop a battery which would be ready to deploy at the end of the project, further optimisation and engineering studies would be required to achieve such a goal. Rather we seek to develop the fundamental scientific principles which could lead to better performing (in terms of energy, cost and lifetime) redox flow batteries - based on two advances we propose: one which develops a "membrane-free" flow battery, the other develops novel types of materials to be used as the battery membranes.

Key Findings
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.man.ac.uk