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Decoupled electrolytes towards enhanced energy and high temperature performance of thermally regenerative ammonia batteries

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Abstract

Thermally regenerative ammonia batteries (TRABs) show viable potential for harvesting abundant low-grade waste heat as high-power electricity. However, the ammonia brings about a large pH difference between the catholyte and anolyte, leading to self-discharge and severe energy decay. Here, an electrolyte decoupling strategy is proposed for ammonia batteries to restrain the self-discharge and enhance energy density as well as power generation at high temperatures. The self-discharge by ion cross contamination is observed visually as a colour evolution of the interlayer solution, and a transition of the principal cathodic reactant from Cu2+ to Cu(NH3)42+ exists during discharging, which signals the beginning of performance degradation. The results demonstrate that decoupled Cu/Zn-TRABs with double and triple-membrane designs improve the energy density by 45–50%, mainly due to the delay of the transition region. The power density of the decoupled Cu/Zn-TRABs is reduced at high currents, but with concentration optimization or elevated temperatures, it is able to be promoted significantly. With an energy density of 1034 W h m−3 obtained by a decoupled Cu/Zn-TRAB with double-IEM (ion exchange membrane) design, a thermoelectric conversion efficiency of 1.86% (15.6% relative to the Carnot efficiency) is achieved at a condenser temperature of 16 °C.

Graphical abstract: Decoupled electrolytes towards enhanced energy and high temperature performance of thermally regenerative ammonia batteries

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
21 Mar 2020
Accepted
23 Apr 2020
First published
25 Apr 2020

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020, Advance Article
Article type
Paper

Decoupled electrolytes towards enhanced energy and high temperature performance of thermally regenerative ammonia batteries

W. Wang, G. Shu, X. Zhu and H. Tian, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2020, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/D0TA03236K

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