Redox flow batteries based on quinone-bearing 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.
- 0306 Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural)