Extending the lifetime of organic flow batteries via redox state management

Marc Antoni Goulet, Liuchuan Tong, Daniel A. Pollack, Daniel P. Tabor, Susan A. Odom, Alán Aspuru-Guzik, Eugene E. Kwan, Roy G. Gordon, Michael J. Aziz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


Redox flow batteries based on quinonebearing aqueous electrolytes have emerged as promising systems for energy storage from intermittent renewable sources. The lifetime of these batteries is limited by quinone stability. Here, we confirm that 2,6-dihydroxyanthrahydroquinone tends to form an anthrone intermediate that is vulnerable to subsequent irreversible dimerization. We demonstrate quantitatively that this decomposition pathway is responsible for the loss of battery capacity. Computational studies indicate that the driving force for anthrone formation is greater for anthraquinones with lower reduction potentials. We show that the decomposition can be substantially mitigated. We demonstrate that conditions minimizing anthrone formation and avoiding anthrone dimerization slow the capacity loss rate by over an order of magnitude. We anticipate that this mitigation strategy readily extends to other anthraquinone-based flow batteries and is thus an important step toward realizing renewable electricity storage through long-lived organic flow batteries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8014-8019
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number20
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Chemical Society.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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