Wire based electrospun composite short side chain perfluorosulfonic acid/ polyvinylidene fluoride membranes for hydrogen-bromine flow batteries

Yohanes Antonius Hugo a, b, Wiebrand Kout b, Antoni Forner-Cuenca a, Zandrie Borneman a, c, Kitty Nijmeijer a, c, *
a Membrane Materials and Processes, Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, Eindhoven University of Technology, PO Box 513, 5600MB Eindhoven, the Netherlands
b Elestor B.V., 6827 AV Arnhem, the Netherlands
c Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER), P.O. Box 6336, 5600 HH Eindhoven, the Netherlands
⁎ Corresponding author. E-mail address: d.c.nijmeijer@tue.nl (K. Nijmeijer).

A main component of a hydrogen-bromine flow battery (HBFB) is the ion exchange membrane. Available membranes have a trade-off between the major requirements: high proton conductivity, low bromine species crossover, and high mechanical and chemical stability. To overcome this, electrospinning of a highly proton conductive polymer (short side chain perfluorosulfonic acid (SSC PFSA)) and a hydrophobic inert polymer (polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF)) was used to electrospin composite polymer fiber mats. Piles of multiple mats were hot pressed resulting in dense ion exchange membranes. Membranes with three different SSC PFSA/PVDF ratios were prepared, characterized, and subjected to short and long term (1500 h) HBFB testing. The electrospun membranes have performances very comparable to those of commercial membranes. For the SSC PFSA/PVDF electrospun membrane, a higher SSC PFSA loading gives a higher membrane proton conductivity compared to a lower loading, but at the expense of a higher bromine species crossover. The SSC PFSA/PVDF (50/50 wt%) membrane shows a coulombic efficiency of 98%, a voltaic efficiency of 80% and an initial available capacity of 105 Ah L− 1 at a current density of 150 mA cm− 2, which equals that of the current benchmark long side chain PFSA membrane. This performance is constant over 200 cycles during 2 months of continuous HBFB operation.

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