A trifunctional electrolyte for high-performance zinc-iodine flow batteries

Q. P. Jian, M. C. Wu, H. R. Jiang, Y. K. Lin, T. S. Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Zinc-iodine flow battery (ZIFB) holds great potential for grid-scale energy storage because of its high energy density, good safety and inexpensiveness. However, the performance of ZIFB is hindered by conventional electrolyte that offers low ionic conductivity, suffers from iodine precipitation and triggers severe Zn dendrite growth. Here, we report an NH4Br improved electrolyte to address the issues simultaneously. The addition of NH4Br enhances the ionic conductivity of electrolyte from 120 to 180 mS cm−1. Meanwhile, Br ions complex with I2 forming soluble I2Br, which frees up I ions and thus unlocks the battery capacity, while NH4+ ions complex with Zn2+ ions to mitigate Zn dendrite formation with the electrostatic shielding effect. Experimental results reveal that the improved electrolyte promotes the kinetics and reversibility of both positive and negative redox couples. A ZIFB with the improved electrolyte delivers a high energy efficiency (85%), a high charge capacity (35 A h L−1) and a long cycle life (100 cycles without degradation) at 40 mA cm−2, while conventional ZIFB shows an energy efficiency of 80%, a charge capacity of 25 A h L−1, and a short cycle life of only around 15 cycles. These encouraging results indicate that NH4Br, a cost-effective salt, offers great prospects for high-performance ZIFB applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number229238
JournalJournal of Power Sources
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Energy storage
  • High energy density
  • Supporting electrolyte
  • Zinc dendrite
  • Zinc-iodine flow batteries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A trifunctional electrolyte for high-performance zinc-iodine flow batteries'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this