3 years ago

Toward Improved Catholyte Materials for Redox Flow Batteries: What Controls Chemical Stability of Persistent Radical Cations?

Toward Improved Catholyte Materials for Redox Flow Batteries: What Controls Chemical Stability of Persistent Radical Cations?
Lu Zhang, Jingjing Zhang, Levi Thompson, Benjamin Silcox, Larry A. Curtiss, Ilya A. Shkrob, Siu on Tung, Rajeev S. Assary
Catholyte materials are used to store positive charge in energized fluids circulating through redox flow batteries (RFBs) for electric grid and vehicle applications. Energy-rich radical cations (RCs) are being considered for use as catholyte materials, but to be practically relevant, these RCs (that are typically unstable, reactive species) need to have long lifetimes in liquid electrolytes under the ambient conditions. Only few families of such energetic RCs possess stabilities that are suitable for their use in RFBs; currently, the derivatives of 1,4-dialkoxybenzene look the most promising. In this study, we examine factors that define the chemical and electrochemical stabilities for RCs in this family. To this end, we used rigid bis-annulated molecules that by design avoid the two main degradation pathways for such RCs, viz., their deprotonation and radical addition. The decay of the resulting RCs are due to the single remaining reaction: O-dealkylation. We establish the mechanism for this reaction and examine factors controlling its rate. In particular, we demonstrate that this reaction is initiated by the nucleophile attack of the counteranion on the RC partner. The reaction proceeds through the formation of the aroxyl radicals whose secondary reactions yield the corresponding quinones. The O-dealkylation accelerates considerably when the corresponding quinone has poor solubility in the electrolyte, and the rate depends strongly on the solvent polarity. Our mechanistic insights suggest new ways of improving the RC catholytes through molecular engineering and electrolyte optimization.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b08281

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b08281

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.