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The design of chemically stable ion exchange membranes with high selectivity for application in aqueous redox flow battery (RFB) at high acid concentration remains a significant challenge. Herein, this study designed a stable and highly ion selective membrane by utilizing proton conductive cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) incorporated in semicrystalline hydrophobic poly (vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropylene) (PVDF-HFP) matrix. The high hydrophobicity of the PVDF-HFP matrix mitigates crossover of the electrolytes, whereas, the abundant and low-cost CNCs derived from wood provides high proton conductivity. The fundamental contributors for CNCs' excellent proton conductivity are the hydroxyl (-OH) functional groups, highly acidic sulfonate (-SO3H) functional groups, and the extensive intramolecular hydrogen bonding network. In addition, CNCs exhibit mechanically and chemically stable structure in the harsh acidic electrolyte attributed to the high crystallinity (crystalline index of ~86 %). Therefore, because of the high proton conductivity, excellent ion selectivity, high chemical stability, and structural robustness, the vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) assembled with homogeneous CNCs and PVDF-HFP (CNC/PVDF-HFP) membrane achieved a coulombic efficiency (CE) of 98.2 %, energy efficiency (EE) of 88.2 %, and a stable cycling performance for more than 650 cycles at a current density of 100 mA cm-2. The obtained membrane possess excellent flexibility, high mechanical tensile strength, and superior selectivity. Meanwhile, the applied casting method is scalable for large scale manufacturing.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Nano letters
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A type of ion exchange chromatography using diethylaminoethyl cellulose (DEAE-CELLULOSE) as a positively charged resin. (From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 4th ed)
Cellulose derivative used in chromatography, as ion-exchange material, and for various industrial applications.
A cellulose of varied carboxyl content retaining the fibrous structure. It is used as a local hemostatic and as a matrix for normal blood coagulation.
Functionally and structurally differentiated, purple-pigmented regions of the cytoplasmic membrane of some strains of Halobacterium halobium. The membrane develops under anaerobic conditions and is made almost entirely of the purple pigment BACTERIORHODOPSINS. (From Singleton & Sainsbury Dictionary of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, 2d ed)