Bromine Electrodes for the Hydrogen-Bromine Redox Flow

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Bromine Electrodes for the Hydrogen-Bromine Redox Flow ( bromine-electrodes-hydrogen-bromine-redox-flow )

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batteries Article Electrochemical Testing of Carbon Materials as Bromine Electrodes for the Hydrogen-Bromine Redox Flow Battery Yaksh Popat 1, David P. Trudgeon 1, Xiaohong Li 1,* , Peter Connor 1, Arunchander Asokan 2 and Matthew E. Suss 2 1 Renewable Energy Group, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 3200003, Israel 2 * Correspondence: x.li@exeter.ac.uk Citation: Popat, Y.; Trudgeon, D.P.; Li, X.; Connor, P.; Asokan, A.; Suss, M.E. Electrochemical Testing of Carbon Materials as Bromine Electrodes for the Hydrogen-Bromine Redox Flow Battery. Batteries 2022, 8, 166. https://doi.org/10.3390/ batteries8100166 Academic Editor: Byunghoon Kim Received: 24 August 2022 Accepted: 3 October 2022 Published: 7 October 2022 Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affil- iations. Copyright: © 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/). Abstract: Hydrogen-bromine (H2-Br2) redox flow batteries (RFBs) have gained a lot of interest due to their advantages in mitigating the performance shortcomings of conventional zinc-bromine and vanadium flow batteries. Various carbon materials have been tested in H2-Br2 RFBs as bromine electrodes. However, a comparative study among the different carbon materials has not been reported in the literature. This work reports, for the first time, an evaluation of carbon papers, felt and cloth in a three-electrode half-cell setup as potential bromine electrodes, in pristine and thermally treated state. A systematic evaluation was performed by comparing the surface morphologies, kinetic parameters, polarisation curves and stability tests of different carbon electrodes. Thermally treated graphite felt electrode demonstrated the best electrochemical performance as bromine electrode owing to its improved surface area, hydrophilicity and intrinsic activity. Further in-depth studies will shed important insights, which will help understand the electrode characteristics for future bromine battery design. The current study will assist in evaluating the performance of upcoming novel electrode materials in a three-electrode assembly. Keywords: bromine electrode; carbon material; three-electrode setup; hydrogen-bromine; flow battery 1. Introduction Industrial activities and population growth have resulted in a gigantic increase in the global energy demands and consumption. World energy production amounted to 617 EJ in 2019, and fossil fuels accounted for more than 81% of the production [1]. The combustion of fossil fuels is known to cause serious damage to the environment and the ecosystem due to the pollution. Over the past two decades, the contribution of renewables to the generation of electricity has increased, and the share of renewables in global electricity generation jumped to 29% in 2020 [2]. However, renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, face some major challenges, such as high upfront cost, unpredictability, intermittency, geographical limitations, etc. Thus, energy storage is essential to tackle the uncontrollable and variable nature of renewable energy. Redox flow batteries (RFBs) have been identified as one of the promising technologies for electrical energy storage (EES) because of their high efficiency, fast response, long cycle life, safe operation and environmental friendliness [3–5]. However, it is imperative that the electrolyte and the electrode materials used in an RFB are economical and abun- dant to ensure the energy storage system is sustainable and economically feasible. The hydrogen-bromine (H2-Br2) RFB meets these criteria owing to the abundance of hydrogen, bromine [6] and the cheap, scalable, carbon-based electrode materials used for the bromine electrode. H2-Br2 RFB is a promising candidate due to its advantages of: (a) high achievable energy density of the electrolyte; (b) good stability without significant degradation; (c) fast electrochemical reaction kinetics of hydrogen and bromine electrodes; (d) ability to undergo shallow discharges along with overcharge; and (e) high coulombic efficiency due to low self-discharge rate [7–9]. Batteries 2022, 8, 166. https://doi.org/10.3390/batteries8100166 https://www.mdpi.com/journal/batteries

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