Study of Anion Exchange Membrane Properties Incorporating N-spirocyclic Quaternary Ammonium Cations and Aqueous Organic Redox Flow Battery Performance

Tsehaye, Misgina Tilahun; Yang, Xian; Janoschka, Tobias; Hager, Martin D.; Schubert, Ulrich S.; Alloin, Fannie; Iojoiu, Cristina
Flexible cross-linked anion exchange membranes (AEMs) based on poly (p-phenylene oxide) grafted with N-spirocyclic quaternary ammonium cations were synthesized via UV-induced free-radical polymerization by using diallylpiperidinium chloride as an ionic monomer. Five membranes with ion exchange capacity (IEC) varying between 1.5 to 2.8 mmol Cl−·g−1 polymer were obtained and the correlation between IEC, water uptake, state of water in the membrane and ionic conductivity was studied. In the second part of this study, the influence of properties of four of these membranes on cell cycling stability and performance was investigated in an aqueous organic redox flow battery (AORFB) employing dimethyl viologen (MV) and N,N,N-2,2,6,6-heptamethylpiperidinyl oxy-4-ammonium chloride (TMA-TEMPO). The influence of membrane properties on cell cycling stability and performance was studied. At low-current density (20 mA·cm−2), the best capacity retention was obtained with lower IEC membranes for which the water uptake, freezable water and TMA-TEMPO and MV crossover are low. However, at a high current density (80 mA·cm−2), membrane resistance plays an important role and a membrane with moderate IEC, more precisely, moderate ion conductivity and water uptake was found to maintain the best overall cell performance. The results in this work contribute to the basic understanding of the relationship between membrane properties and cell performance, providing insights guiding the development of advanced membranes to improve the efficiency and power capability for AORFB systems.
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