A group of faculty from the University of Michigan and Case Western University,with UMEI faculty affiliates Levi Thompson, Greg Keoleian, and Melanie Sanford as lead investigators, recently received a $1.9M award from the National Science Foundation to study non-aqueous redox flow battery chemistries. The funding comes from NSF’s new Sustainable Energy Pathways (SEP) program to spark innovative energy solutions that meet societal needs without creating burdens for future generations.
NSF envisions such solutions being domestically generated, at a reasonable cost, and not dependent on rare resources–while avoiding adverse environmental or societal consequences, not contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and preserving essential ecosystems.
A key enabler of increased renewable energy penetration on our electric grid is to include energy storage to alleviate the intermittent nature of renewable generation. Flow batteries are one technology that is being considered to storing solar, wind, and other renewable energy at scale.
To achieve such solutions, the UM team is poised to tackle the transformative scientific and engineering outcomes needed to demonstrate cost-competitive, non-aqueous redox flow batteries (RFBs) for grid storage applications. Non-aqueous flow batteries offer higher energy density by replacing water as the solvent with fluids like acetonitrile, and matching the new solvent with an appropriate metal like chromium or vanadium.