Polymer Electrolyte Membranes for Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries: Fundamentals and Applications

Xingyi Shi, Oladapo Christopher Esan, Xiaoyu Huo, Yining Ma, Zhefei Pan, Liang An, T. S. Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Electrochemical energy storage systems are considered as one of the most viable solutions to realize large-scale utilization of renewable energy. Among the various electrochemical energy storage systems, flow batteries have increasingly attracted global attention due to their flexible structural design, high efficiencies, long operating life cycle, and independently tunable power and energy storage capacity. Although promising, a number of challenges including the high cost of flow battery materials hinder the broad market penetration of flow battery technology. Polymer electrolyte membrane, as a key component in flow batteries providing pathways for charge carriers transport and preventing electrolytes crossover, takes over 25% of the entire cost of the battery system. Apparently, the membrane not only plays pivotal roles in the operation characteristics of a flow battery, but also largely influences the financial cost of the battery system. To provide insights and better understanding of membranes towards enhancing their performance and cost-effectiveness, we therefore present recent advances and research outcomes on the development of polymer electrolyte membranes as well as their applications in flow batteries, particularly all-vanadium redox flow batteries. Various aspects of polymer electrolyte membranes including functional requirements, characterization methods, materials screening and preparation strategies, transport mechanisms, and commercialization progress are presented. Finally, perspectives for future trends on research and development of polymer electrolyte membranes with relevance to flow batteries are highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100926
JournalProgress in Energy and Combustion Science
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Commercialization
  • Flow batteries
  • Materials screening
  • Polymer electrolyte membranes
  • Preparation and characterization methods
  • Transport mechanisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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