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Efficiency of the grid energy storage technology based on iron-chloride material cycle
Uroš Luin, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: Future high-capacity energy storage technologies are crucial for a highly renewable energy mix, and their mass deployment must rely on cheap and abundant materials, such as iron chloride. The iron chloride electrochemical cycle (ICEC), suitable for long-term grid energy storage using a redox potential change of Fe2+/Fe, involves the electrolysis of a highly concentrated aqueous FeCl2 solution yielding solid iron deposits. For the high overall energy efficiency of the cycle, it is crucial maximizing the energy efficiency of the electrolysis process. The thesis presents a study of the influence of electrolysis parameters on energy efficiency, performed in an industrial-type electrolyzer system. We studied the conductivity of the FeCl2 solution as a function of concentration and temperature and correlated it with the electrolysis energy efficiency as a function of current density. The contribution of the resistance polarization increases with the current density, causing a decrease in overall energy efficiency. The highest energy efficiency of 89 ±3 % was achieved using 2.5 mol dm-3 FeCl2 solution at 70 °C and a current density of 0.1 kA m-2. In terms of the energy input per Fe mass, this means 1.88 Wh g-1. The limiting energy input per mass of the Fe-deposit, calculated by extrapolating experimental results toward Eocell potential, was found to be 1.76 Wh g-1. For optimal long-duration electrolysis efficiency and performance, the optimal catholyte concentration range is 1-2 mol dm-3 FeCl2. We performed in situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy experimental studies to validate theoretical conclusions from literature related to the population and structure of Fe-species in the FeCl2 (aq) solution at different concentrations (1 - 4 mol dm-3) and temperatures (25 - 80 °C). This revealed that at low temperature and low FeCl2 concentration, the octahedral first coordination sphere around Fe is occupied by one Cl ion at a distance of 2.33 (±0.02) Å and five H2O at a distance of 2.095 (±0.005) Å. The structure of the ionic complex gradually changes with an increase in temperature and/or concentration. The apical H2O is substituted by a Cl ion to yield a neutral Fe[Cl2(H2O)4]0. The transition from the charged Fe[Cl(H2O)5]+ to the neutral Fe[Cl2(H2O)4]0 causes a significant drop in the solution conductivity, which well correlates with the existing state-of-the-art conductivity models. An additional steric impediment of the electrolytic cell is caused by the predominant neutral species present in the catholyte solution at high concentration. This correlates with poor electrolysis performance at a very high catholyte concentration (4 mol dm-3 FeCl2), especially at high current densities (> 1 kA m-2). The neutral Fe[Cl2(H2O)4]0 complex negatively affects the anion exchange membrane ion (Cl-) transfer and lowers the concentration of electroactive species (Fe[Cl(H2O)5]+) at the cathode surface. The kinetics of hydrogen evolution from the reaction between Fe powder and HCl acid was studied under the first-order reaction condition. The activation energy was determined to be 55.3 kJ mol-1.
Keywords: ICEC, Power-to-Solid, energy storage, hydrogen, ferrous chloride, electrolysis, Fe deposition, efficiency, XAS, structure and population, ionic species, ion association, conductivity
Published in RUNG: 18.04.2023; Views: 579; Downloads: 20  (1 vote)
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