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Research Papers

Dynamic Model of a Vanadium Redox Flow Battery for System Performance Control

[+] Author and Article Information
Victor Yu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Texas at Austin,
Austin, TX 78712
e-mail: victory118@utexas.edu

Dongmei Chen

e-mail: dmchen@me.utexas.edu

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Texas at Austin,
Austin, TX 78712

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. Manuscript received September 20, 2012; final manuscript received June 11, 2013; published online August 21, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Robert Palumbo.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 136(2), 021005 (Aug 21, 2013) (7 pages) Paper No: SOL-12-1243; doi: 10.1115/1.4024928 History: Received September 20, 2012; Revised June 11, 2013

The vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) is an attractive grid scale energy storage option, but high operating cost prevents widespread commercialization. One way of mitigating cost is to optimize system performance, which requires an accurate model capable of predicting cell voltage under different operating conditions such as current, temperature, flow rate, and state of charge. This paper presents a lumped isothermal VRFB model based on principles of mass transfer and electrochemical kinetics that can predict transient performance with respect to the aforementioned operating conditions. The model captures two important physical phenomena: (1) mass transfer at the electrode surface and (2) vanadium crossover through the membrane. Mass transfer effects increase the overpotential and thus reduce the battery output voltage during discharge. Vanadium crossover causes a concentration imbalance between the two half-cells that negatively affects the voltage response particularly after long term cycling. Further analysis on the system linearity is conducted to assess the feasibility of using a linear control design methodology.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Schematic of VRFB system

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Fig. 2

A comparison of the MTL approximation and Butler–Volmer equation to the total overpotential for flow rates of 1 mL/s and 5 mL/s at (a) 50% SOC and (b) 20% SOC

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Fig. 3

Discharge voltage response with and without mass transfer effects at 750 A/m2 current density and 80% initial SOC for flow rates of (a) 1 mL/s and (b) 5 mL/s

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Fig. 4

Simulated voltage response with and without crossover at 298 K and 318 K. The current density and flow rate were set to 1000 A/m2 and 1 mL/s, respectively.

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Fig. 5

Simulated voltage response at 0%, 10%, and 20% capacity loss. The current density and flow rate were set to 1000 A/m2 and 1 mL/s, respectively.

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Fig. 6

Gap values calculated at different operating points (solid dots) compared to a nominal operating point (star). Current and flow rate vary in each plot: (a) 1000 A/m2 and 1 mL/s, (b) 5000 A/m2 and 1 mL/s, and (c) 5000 A/m2 and 2 mL/s.

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