Analysis of crossover-induced capacity fade in redox flow batteries with non-selective separators

Venkat Pavan Nemani, Kyle C. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Redox flow batteries (RFBs) are candidates for grid-scale energy storage. For RFBs mechanistic understanding of redox-active species crossover is needed to optimize electrolyte composition (both of inert salt ions and redox-active species) especially when low-cost separators are used instead of ion-selective membranes. We simulate these effects using a multi-component porous electrode model with Nernst-Planck fluxes and Marcus-Hush-Chidsey kinetics to predict capacity utilization and fade. The molar ratio of inert salt to redox species and the ratio of their diffusivities are used to parameterize different electrolytes in RFBs with non-selective separators. Irrespective of whether redox couples use a common charge-balancing counterion (rocking chair configuration) or not (salt splitting configuration) the molar ratio of inert salt to redox species must exceed 50% to cycle with substantial capacity. Using Damköhler numbers (characteristic scales of reaction rates to transport rates) for both inert salt Dasalt and redox-active species Daredox we classify three RFB operating regimes: redox shuttle limited, ohmic polarized, and sufficient supporting electrolyte. In the sufficient supporting electrolyte regime capacity fade is found to scale inversely with Daredox, resulting in capacity fade per cycle less than 0.01% for Daredox larger than 105 and capacity utilization of approximately 80% for Dasaltsmaller than 12.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A3144-A3155
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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