An aqueous flow battery based on low‐cost, nonflammable, noncorrosive, and earth‐abundant elements is introduced. During charging, electrons are stored in a concentrated water solution of 2,5‐dihydroxy‐1,4‐benzoquinone, which rapidly receives electrons with inexpensive carbon electrodes without the assistance of any metal electrocatalyst. Electrons are withdrawn from a second water solution of a food additive, potassium ferrocyanide. When these two solutions flow along opposite sides of a cation‐conducting membrane, this flow battery delivers a cell potential of 1.21 V, a peak galvanic power density of 300 mW cm−2, and a coulombic efficiency exceeding 99%. Continuous cell cycling at 100 mA cm−2 shows a capacity retention rate of 99.76% cycle−1 over 150 cycles. Various molecular modifications involving substitution for hydrogens on the aryl ring are implemented to block decomposition by nucleophilic attack of hydroxide ions. These modifications result in increased capacity retention rates of up to 99.96% cycle−1 over 400 consecutive cycles, accompanied by changes in voltage, solubility, kinetics, and cell resistance. Quantum chemistry calculations of a large number of organic compounds predict a number of related structures that should have even higher performance and stability. Flow batteries based on alkaline‐soluble dihydroxybenzoquinones and derivatives are promising candidates for large‐scale, stationary storage of electrical energy.
Advanced Energy Materials – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ;
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