Increasing Power Densities and Cycle Efficiencies of Novel, Thermally Charged Flow Batteries Using Advanced Flow Cell Topologies

Solar panels and wind turbines beside large batteries
Project Type
April 2019
Research Themes

The objective of the proposed work is to develop recently-invented thermally-rechargeable flow batteries (TRFBs), that already have power densities higher than other thermal conversion technologies, into a commercially-viable grid-level energy storage and power production technology that is fueled by industrial waste heat. The proposed work has the potential to transform this new clean energy technology and is highly relevant to Penn State’s goal of being a leading Energy University and the IEE strategic priority area focused on our Future Energy Supply. Innovative battery cell topologies will be studied to overcome existing heat and mass transfer limitations, thereby enabling higher power densities and cycle efficiencies and decreasing the power generation cost of TRFBs. 

This work will be foundational in the development of interdisciplinary modelling expertise that is currently lacking in the field, which will enable the development of new and transformative electrochemical energy systems. A new collaboration between investigators in the College of Engineering and College of Earth and Mineral Sciences will be established to conduct a numerical and experimental investigation of TRFBs. This work will also be instrumental in the PI’s pursuit of a new research direction. Planned scholarly outputs from this work are outlined along with specifically-targeted external funding opportunities. 

Resulting Funding

  • Development of an All-Aqueous Thermally Regenerative Redox Flow Battery to Support Fossil Fuel Assets, Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Prime Performer: Pennsylvania State University, Project Duration: 3/01/2021–7/31/2023, Agreement Number: FE0032030, Technology: Advanced Energy Storage, Total Award Value: $312,881

Resulting Publications

  • Power and energy capacity tradeoffs in an all-aqueous copper thermally regenerative ammonia battery
    Cross, N. R., Rau, M. J., Lvov, S. N., Gorski, C. A., Logan, B. E. & Hall, D. M., May 30 2022, In: Journal of Power Sources. 531, 231339.


Matthew Rau

Matthew Rau
Former Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Derek Hall

Assistant Research Professor, John and Willie Leone Department of Energy & Mineral Engineering (EME)

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