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The Electrochemical Flow Capacitor: A New Concept for Rapid Energy Storage and Recovery

Authors

  • Volker Presser,

    1. A. J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
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  • Christopher R. Dennison,

    1. Electrochemical Energy Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
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  • Jonathan Campos,

    1. A. J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
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  • Kevin W. Knehr,

    1. Electrochemical Energy Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
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  • Emin C. Kumbur,

    Corresponding author
    1. Electrochemical Energy Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
    • Electrochemical Energy Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
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  • Yury Gogotsi

    Corresponding author
    1. A. J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
    • A. J. Drexel Nanotechnology Institute, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.
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Abstract

Availability of grid-scale electric energy storage systems with response rates on the order of seconds plays a key role in wide implementation of renewable energy sources. Here, a new concept called the electrochemical flow capacitor (EFC) is presented. This new concept shares the major advantages of both supercapacitors and flow batteries, providing rapid charging/discharging while enabling the decoupling of the power and energy ratings. Like in supercapacitors, energy is stored in the electric double layer of charged carbon particles. A flowable carbon-electrolyte mixture is employed as the active material for capacitive energy storage, and is handled in a similar fashion to flow or semi-solid batteries (i.e., for charging/discharging, it is pumped into an electrochemical cell, and for storage, it is pumped into reservoirs). This study presents the proof-of-concept of this technology and reports initial EFC performance data obtained under static and intermittent flow operations.

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