Many renewable energy technologies, such as solar and wind, cannot provide energy on demand. This limits their growth in society when production and use timelines are mismatched. Hence, grid-scale energy storage is imperative to move towards a renewable energy future, and one of these enabling technologies is the redox flow battery (RFB). However, the state-of-art membrane material for leading RFBs, i.e. Nafion, accounts for 30 – 40% of the total battery cost, making it impossible to economically compete with fossil fuels. I will be working to develop a new membrane material for RFBs that is based on ceramic/ceramic-polymer hybrids produced using sol-gel processes. The primary motivation is that these new membranes are one-tenth the cost of Nafion, but can perform even better . They will have high ion conductivity and selectivity, will be chemically and thermally stable under harsh operating conditions and will be mechanically robust for manufacturing and device integration.
Advisor Lilo D. Pozzo -Chemical Engineering