Ambipolar zinc-polyiodide electrolyte for a high-energy density aqueous redox flow battery

Nat Commun. 2015 Feb 24;6:6303. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7303.


Redox flow batteries are receiving wide attention for electrochemical energy storage due to their unique architecture and advantages, but progress has so far been limited by their low energy density (~25 Wh l(-1)). Here we report a high-energy density aqueous zinc-polyiodide flow battery. Using the highly soluble iodide/triiodide redox couple, a discharge energy density of 167 Wh l(-1) is demonstrated with a near-neutral 5.0 M ZnI2 electrolyte. Nuclear magnetic resonance study and density functional theory-based simulation along with flow test data indicate that the addition of an alcohol (ethanol) induces ligand formation between oxygen on the hydroxyl group and the zinc ions, which expands the stable electrolyte temperature window to from -20 to 50 °C, while ameliorating the zinc dendrite. With the high-energy density and its benign nature free from strong acids and corrosive components, zinc-polyiodide flow battery is a promising candidate for various energy storage applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.