Dr. Fikile Brushet
Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Articulating materials design criteria for next-generation redox flow batteries
Electrochemical energy storage has emerged as a critical technology to enable sustainable electricity generation by alleviating intermittency from renewable sources, reducing transmission congestion, enhancing grid resiliency, and decoupling generation from demand. Redox flow batteries (RFBs) are rechargeable electrochemical devices that store energy via the reduction and oxidation of soluble active species, which are housed in external tanks and pumped to a power-generating reactor. As compared to enclosed batteries (e.g., lithium-ion), RFBs offer an attractive alternative due to decoupled power and energy, long service life, and simple manufacturing, but have not yet achieved widespread adoption because of high prices.
Recent research has focused on the discovery and development of new chemistries. Of particular interest are low cost organic molecules and nonaqueous electrolytes with wide electrochemical windows, since decreasing materials cost and increasing cell potential offer credible pathways to lowering battery prices. Though these emerging concepts are exciting, at present new materials are typically considered in isolation rather than as part of a battery system. Understanding the important relationships between material properties and overall battery price is key to enabling systematic improvements in RFBs. In this presentation, I will discuss chemistry-agnostic design principles for economically-viable RFBs realized through the combination of techno-economic modeling, reactor engineering, and materials analysis. This approach emphasizes the fundamental differences in cost reduction strategies for aqueous and nonaqueous RFBs, specifies design criteria for future materials, and highlights new research avenues for the energy storage community.
Fikile Brushett is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he holds the Cecil and Ida Green Career Development Chair. He received his B.S.E. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010 under the supervision of Professor Paul J. A. Kenis. From 2010-2012, he was a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Electrochemical Energy Storage Group at Argonne National Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. John T. Vaughey. In 2012, he started his independent career at MIT where his research group seeks to advance the science and engineering of electrochemical technologies that enable a sustainable energy economy. Brushett is especially interested in the fundamental processes that define the performance, cost, and lifetime of present day and future electrochemical systems. His group currently works on redox flow batteries for grid storage and electrochemical processing of carbon dioxide and biomass. He also serves as the Research Integration co-Lead for the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research, a DOE-funded Energy Innovation Hub.
Please contact April Specner for Zoom details