Modelling of redox flow battery electrode processes at a range of length scales: a review†
In this article, the different approaches reported in the literature for modelling electrode processes in redox flow batteries (RFBs) are reviewed. RFB models vary widely in terms of computational complexity, research scalability and accuracy of predictions. Development of RFB models have been quite slow in the past, but in recent years researchers have reported on a range of modelling approaches for RFB system optimisation. Flow and transport processes, and their influence on electron transfer kinetics, play an important role in the performance of RFBs. Macro-scale modelling, typically based on a continuum approach for porous electrode modelling, have been used to investigate current distribution, to optimise cell design and to support techno-economic analyses. Microscale models have also been developed to investigate the transport properties within porous electrode materials. These microscale models exploit experimental tomographic techniques to characterise three-dimensional structures of different electrode materials. New insights into the effect of the electrode structure on transport processes are being provided from these new approaches. Modelling flow, transport, electrical and electrochemical processes within the electrode structure is a developing area of research, and there are significant variations in the model requirements for different redox systems, in particular for multiphase chemistries (gas–liquid, solid–liquid, etc.) and for aqueous and non-aqueous solvents. Further development is essential to better understand the kinetic and mass transport phenomena in the porous electrodes, and multiscale approaches are also needed to enable optimisation across the relevent length scales.