Computational design of microarchitected porous electrodes for redox flow batteries

Victor A. Beck, Jonathan J. Wong, Charles F. Jekel, Daniel A. Tortorelli, Sarah E. Baker, Eric B. Duoss, Marcus A. Worsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Porous electrodes are used as the core reactive component across electrochemical technologies. In flowing systems, controlling the fluid distribution, species transport, and reactive environment is critical to attaining high performance. However, conventional electrode materials like felts and papers provide few opportunities for precise engineering of the electrode and its microstructure. To address these limitations, architected electrodes composed of unit cells with spatially varying geometry determined via computational optimization are proposed. Resolved simulation is employed to develop a homogenized description of the constituent unit cells. These effective properties serve as inputs to a continuum model for the electrode when used in the negative half-cell of a vanadium redox flow battery. Porosity distributions minimizing power loss are then determined via computational design optimization to generate architected porosity electrodes. The architected electrodes are compared to bulk, uniform porosity electrodes and found to lead to increased power efficiency across operating flow rates and currents. The design methodology is further used to generate a scaled-up electrode with comparable power efficiency to the bench-scale systems. The variable porosity architecture and computational design methodology presented here thus offers a novel pathway for automatically generating spatially engineered electrode structures with improved power performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number230453
JournalJournal of Power Sources
StatePublished - Nov 15 2021


  • Design
  • Energy storage
  • Optimization
  • Porous electrode
  • Redox flow batteries
  • Simulation
  • Vanadium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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