Application of novel Anion-Exchange Blend Membranes (AEBMs) to vanadium redox flow batteries
Krieg, Henning M.
Kerres, Jochen A.
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Both cation-exchange membranes and anion-exchange membranes are used as ion conducting membranes in vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs). Anion-exchange membranes (AEMs) are applied in vanadium redox flow batteries due to the high blocking property of vanadium ions via the Donnan exclusion effect. In this study, novel anion-exchange blend membranes (AEBMs) were prepared, characterized, and applied in VRFBs. Bromomethylated poly(2,6-dimethyl-1,4-phenylene oxide), poly[(1-(4,4′-diphenylether)-5-oxybenzimidazole)-benzimidazole] (PBI-OO) and sulfonated polyether sulfone polymer were combined to prepare 3-component AEBMs with 1,2,4,5-tetramethylimidazole (TMIm) for quaternization. 3-component AEBMs showed significantly enhanced chemical and mechanical properties compared with those of 2-component AEBMs, resulting in an improved performance in VRFBs. The compositions of the anion-exchange polymers in 3-component AEBMs were systematically varied to optimize the AEBMs for the redox-flow battery application. While the 3-component AEBMs showed comparable efficiencies with Nafion® 212 membranes, they displayed improved vanadium ions cross-over as was confirmed by open circuit voltage tests and capacity fade tests conducted in VRFBs. In addition, one of the synthesized 3-component AEBM had a superior coulombic efficiency and capacity retention in a charging–discharging test over 300 cycles at a current density of 40 mA/cm2. It can thus be concluded that 3-component AEBMs are promising candidates for long-term operation in VRFBs