Energy Engineering |

DOI: 10.32604/EE.2022.016597

ARTICLE

Effect of Flow Field Geometry on Hydrodynamics of Flow in Redox Flow Battery

1Center for Incubation, Innovation Research and Consultancy (CIIRC), Jyothy Institute of Technology, Bangalore, 560082, Karnataka, India

2Department of Mechanical Engineering, Jyothy Institute of Technology, Bangalore, 560082, Karnataka, India

3Faculty of Mechanical and Automotive Engineering Technology, University Malaysia Pahang, Pahang, 26600, Malaysia

4Centre for Automotive Engineering, Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Pahang, 26600, Malaysia

5College of Engineering, Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Pahang, 26600, Malaysia

*Corresponding Author: M. Narendra Kumar. Email: narendra.kr@ciirc.jyothyit.ac.in; naru.sa@gmail.com

Received: 29 March 2021; Accepted: 09 July 2021

Abstract: This study computationally investigates the hydrodynamics of different serpentine flow field designs for redox flow batteries, which considers the Poiseuille flow in the flow channel and the Darcy flow porous substrate. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) results of the in-house developed code based on Finite Volume Method (FVM) for conventional serpentine flow field (CSFF) agreed well with those obtained via experiment. The deviation for pressure drop

Keywords: Pressure drop; velocity distribution; serpentine flow field; porous substrate; redox flow battery

Nomenclature | |

Conventional Serpentine Flow Field | |

Modified Serpentine Flow Field, | |

Volume flow rate | |

Mean velocity in channel | |

Inlet velocity | |

Pressure in channel | |

Inlet pressure | |

Permeability | |

Velocity vector | |

Inertial resistance factor | |

Density of fluid (Electrolyte) | |

Dynamic viscosity of fluid (Electrolyte) | |

Acceleration due to gravity | |

Gradient operator | |

Source term | |

Porosity of substrate (Electrode) | |

Pressure drop |

In recent times there has been an increasing demand for non-conventional sources. Despite this, the fluctuating nature of nonconventional energy sources poses an immense challenge for far-reaching applications and efficient substitution of conventional sources. Thus, energy storage technology has a decisive role in delivering electric power from non-conventional sources. Of late, several technologies in energy storage have been proposed. These are characterized by distinct development levels and include pumped hydro, electrochemical, thermal, compressed air, flywheel, etc., among others [1]. Among several energy storage technologies, redox flow batteries (RFBs) have received considerable awareness. The autonomous extent of power and energy, prolonged durability, rapid sensitivity, scalability, flexibility, and decreased impact on the environment have resulted in making RFBs a reliable solution for aiding the generation of electricity from non-conventional sources. RFBs are considered as a promising contender for peak load saving [2] and being able to store larger electric power for medium and large scale uses in reasonably simple design [3,4]. Quite a lot of researchers are presently working on RFBs. They developed an all RFB that was simulated based on the first study on iron-chrome as a redox pair [5–7].

Earlier studies analyzed flow field design to attain uniform distribution with low

A comparison study on the hydrodynamics of serpentine and interdigitated flow fields was performed [22]. Higher

A cell design with many slits at the inlet and outlet section provided a more uniform flow with the decrease in

A review of RFBs on flow distribution, localized current distributions, limiting and maximum current densities, shunt currents and pressure distributions carried out [29] and concluded that to design advanced flow batteries and stacks for good electrochemical performance, much more experimental and modeling approaches was needed. Though several studies on the hydrodynamics of CSFF were reported, studies on the modified variations of CSFF were not much reported in the literature. In this study initial experiments were conducted on CSFF to determine the

The physical system under investigation is described in Fig. 1 with its geometrical properties as shown in Table 1. The 3D geometry of computational domain consists of a flow field and the porous substrate with an active area of

Mass and momentum conservation for incompressible fluid flow are modeled as follows:

Mass conservation in flow

Momentum conservation in flow channel

For flow through channel,

For flow through porous media,

To reveal the hydrodynamics of the flow fields, CFD analysis are conducted using in-house developed code based on FVM with 2nd order upwind differencing method for treating convective terms. The SIMPLE algorithm is used to couple the pressure and velocities on staggered grid arrangement with pressure being descriterised using 2nd order scheme. The porous substrate is modeled by the addition of source term to the momentum equation. This comprises of two components, a viscous loss term (first term) and an inertial loss term (the second term) in Eq. (3). Eqs. (1)–(3) were solved with relevant boundary conditions are solved using in-house developed code to ensure the convergence. Further, grid dependence test was conducted using four different grids with 1698316, 2244808, and 2597946, 2806912 cells. Except for case with least number of cells (306912), the solution obtained for the other grids was about the same. Therefore, simulations are carried out for 2597946 cells (Fig. 2).

In the present work, experimental (CSFF) and CFD analysis were conducted to reveal the hydrodynamics of flow in four different channels (CSFF, MSFF1, MSFF2 & MSFF3) for different flow rates

Fig. 3 compares the pressure drop between experimental and CFD analysis for CSFF channel across the inlet and outlet section. The results of CFD analysis agree closely with the experimental data. The percentage deviation in pressure drop between the experimental and CFD analysis is of the order of about less than 5.1%. The pressure drop in the experimental is on higher side as compared with CFD results for all the flow rates due the unaccounted factors like surface roughness of channel, bends in pipe, pumping losses and friction, etc.

Results from the simulations are presented in terms of Velocity distribution, Pressure distribution in Channel and porous substrate, Non dimensional Velocity distribution in Channel, Non dimensional Pressure distribution in porous substrate and Pressure drop for various flow rates for different channels. These are discussed in the proceeding sections.

4.2.1 Velocity Distribution in Channel and Porous Substrate

The velocity distribution in the channels of all four field configuration obtained from the simulation for flow rate of

Fig. 5 depicts the distribution of velocity at the mid place of electrode for all four field configurations obtained from the simulation for flow rate of

4.2.2 Pressure Distribution in Channel and Porous Substrate

Fig. 6 shows the pressure distribution for four different flow field configurations achieved from simulation at flow rate of

Fig. 7 depicts the pressure contours at the mid plane of the porous substrate for four different flow field configurations at flow rate of

4.2.3 Non Dimensional Velocity Distribution in Channel

Fig. 8 shows the distribution of non dimensional velocity along non dimensional

Fig. 9 shows the distribution of non dimensional velocity along non dimensional

4.2.4 Non Dimensional Velocity Distribution in Porous Substrate

Fig. 10 shows the distribution of non dimensional velocity along non dimensional

4.2.5 Non Dimensional Pressure in Porous Substrate

Fig. 11 shows the distribution of non dimensional pressure along non dimensional

4.2.6 Pressure Drop for Various Flow Rates across Different Channels

Fig. 12a shows the variation of

Fig. 12b shows the % decrease in

From the experimental study of CSFF and CFD analysis for different flow fluid designs for different flow rates

• Development of the CFD in-house code based on FVM and its validation with the experimental results.

• Experimental results and CFD analysis of CSFF design are in very close agreement within a percentage deviation in

• The

• Comparing the relative magnitudes of flow velocity in channels and porous substrate for all the designs, the velocity distribution in the porous substrate was two orders lesser in magnitude as compared with flow in channel. Also by observing the velocity penetration across the porous substrate for all the designs, its penetration was found to be more in MSFF2 when compared to the other designs. This increases its wetting ability that is very important in terms of mass transfer over potential for electrochemical reaction happening in the porous substrate to achieve effective electrochemical cell performance.

From the results and discussion, it can be inferred that the MSFF2 design outperformed the other designs with minimum pressure drop and maximum wettability of porous substrate, which are very important for effective electrochemical cell performance.

Acknowledgement: The authors gratefully thank the Centre for Incubation, Innovation, Research and Consultancy (CIIRC), Jyothy Institute of Technology and Sri Sringeri Sharadha Peetam for supporting this research. K.Kadirgama would like to acknowledge Malaysia Minister of Higher Education for providing financial assistant under Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS) No. FRGS/1/2019/TK07/UMP/02/3 and Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) under Grant No. RDU192207.

Funding Statement: The authors received no specific funding for the study.

Conflicts of Interest: The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest to report regarding the present study.

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