"Magnetic Field-Controlled Lithium Polysulfide Semiliquid Battery with Ferrofluidic Properties"

Weiyang Li: Zheng Liang, Zhenda Lu, Xinyong Tao, Kai Liu, Hongbin Yao, and Yi Cui; Nano Letters, 09/30/15.

Additional Authors: Zheng Liang, Zhenda Lu, Xinyong Tao, Kai Liu, Hongbin Yao, and Yi Cui

Abstract:

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Large-scale energy storage systems are of critical importance for electric grids, especially with the rapid increasing deployment of intermittent renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. New cost-effective systems that can deliver high energy density and efficiency for such storage often involve the flow of redox molecules and particles. Enhancing the mass and electron transport is critical for efficient battery operation in these systems. Herein, we report the design and characterization of a novel proof-of-concept magnetic field-controlled flow battery using lithium metal-polysulfide semiliquid battery as an example. A biphasic magnetic solution containing lithium polysulfide and magnetic nanoparticles is used as catholyte, and lithium metal is used as anode. The catholyte is composed of two phases of polysulfide with different concentrations, in which most of the polysulfide molecules and the superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles can be extracted together to form a high-concentration polysulfide phase, in close contact with the current collector under the influence of applied magnetic field. This unique feature can help to maximize the utilization of the polysulfide and minimize the polysulfide shuttle effect, contributing to enhanced energy density and Coulombic efficiency. Additionally, owing to the effect of the superparamagnetic nanoparticles, the concentrated polysulfide phase shows the behavior of a ferrofluid that is flowable with the control of magnetic field, which can be used for a hybrid flow battery without the employment of any pumps. Our innovative design provides new insight for a broad range of flow battery chemistries and systems.