Go with the flow: Moscow scientists innovate new model for vanadium batteries

Date: Jul 06, 2018

A joint research team from the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) has developed a model of the dynamics and the most important features of vanadium flow batteries, which accumulate energy from renewable sources such as the wind or sun. The new model will make it possible to pinpoint problems in the function of such devices and widen their application range, Skoltech’s press office reported.

The vanadium flow battery is a device designed to accumulate energy from renewable sources precisely under favorable conditions and then use it when needed. This battery differs from traditional ones in that it uses an electrochemical cell and the liquid electrolyte stored in separate tanks, flowing through the cell when the battery is in operation. This lets engineers be more flexible in creating real power installations and makes it possible for them to design new high-power and high-capacity storage devices.

The joint research team from Skoltech, MSU, and MIPT created a mathematical model for an electrochemical cell of a vanadium flow battery. The model produced describes the dynamic behavior of the vanadium flow battery and takes into account the cross flow of vanadium ions through the membrane. This new model will help pinpoint and monitor defects, which appear during the functioning of vanadium batteries, and widen the scope of the batteries’ use. The cross flow of vanadium ions through the membrane (the so-called “cross-over”) is a major problem in the vanadium flow battery’s operation, which results in capacity reduction.

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