Hidden figures of photo-charging: a thermo-electrochemical approach for a solar-rechargeable redox flow cell system†
Achieving high current densities without thermal performance degradation at high temperatures is one of the main challenges for enhancing the competitiveness of photo-electrochemical energy storage systems. We describe a system that overcomes this challenge by incorporating an integrated photoelectrode with a redox flow cell, which functions as a coolant for the excess heat from the photo-absorber. We perform quantitative analyses to theoretically validate and highlight the merit of the system. Practical operation parameters, including daily temperature and redox reaction kinetics, are modeled with respect to heat and charge transfer mechanisms. Our analyses show a profound impact on the resulting solar-to-chemical efficiencies and stored power, which are 21.8% higher than that of a conventional photovoltaic-assisted energy storage system. This paves the way for reassessing the merit of photovoltaic-integrated systems, which have hitherto been underrated as renewable energy storage systems.