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Ion-Selective Membrane Derived from Ionic Block Copolymers with Controlled Nanostructure for Non-Aqueous Redox Flow Batteries

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0022379
Agency Tracking Number: 0000263031
Amount: $200,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C53-18a
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-02-14
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-11-13
Small Business Information
2531 West 237th Street Suite 127
Torrance, CA 90505-5245
United States
DUNS: 114060861
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Yifan Tang
 (310) 530-2011
Business Contact
 Kisholoy Goswami
Phone: (310) 530-2011
Research Institution

The Department of Energy is seeking the development of innovative ion-selective membranes for advanced electrochemical energy storage systems. Non-aqueous redox flow batteries are of particular interest for their potential in grid-scale energy storage. However, the membrane used in these batteries are mainly adopted from other commercial processes, such as fuel cells, lithium-ion batteries, and desalination processes. Existing membranes are limited in stability, selectivity, and compatibility, which significantly hinders non-aqueous redox flow battery development. During the proposed project, the company will develop an innovative nanophase-separated ion- selective membrane for non-aqueous redox flow batteries based on a carefully designed block copolymer, taking advantage of its highly controllable and versatile chemistry. The membrane will provide: (1) reliability and stability, resisting swelling and degradation, (2) high ionic conductivity for enhanced electrochemical performance, and (3) excellent ion-selectivity to prevent unwanted crossover minimizing self-discharging. Our systematic study of block copolymer synthesis, and the fabrication and testing of the membrane will promote in-depth understanding of the structural-property relationship for redox flow battery membranes and expand the application of the polymer and membranes to various energy storage systems. In Phase I, the project team will develop the polyelectrolyte-containing membrane for non- aqueous redox flow battery systems. Polyelectrolyte and copolymer components will be screened to determine the optimal membrane composition. Then the nanodomain size and structure will be engineered to boost membrane performance at full cell level. The fabrication process and the physical, chemical and electrochemical performance will be characterized and evaluated to demonstrate feasibility and better understand the structural-property relationship. The proposed membrane could potentially remove a bottleneck to commercializing advanced energy storage systems, especially non-aqueous redox flow batteries. In addition, the in-depth understanding on the structure-property relationship and nanodomain control of the membrane could have broader impacts for the development of other membranes for various energy related applications: aqueous and non-aqueous redox flow batteries with different chemistries; other storage systems (e.g., lithium ion, sodium ion and magnesium ion batteries); and energy conversion systems (e.g., fuel cells and solar fuel generation).

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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