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Flow measurement inside a zinc-nickel flow cell battery using FBG based sensor system

: Vidakovic, M.; Rente, B.; Fabian, M.; Li, X.; Fisher, P.; Li, K.; Sun, T.; Grattan, K.T.V.


Kalli, K. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Seventh European Workshop on Optical Fibre Sensors 2019 : 1-4 October 2019, Limassol, Cyprus
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2019 (Proceedings of SPIE 11199)
ISBN: 978-1-5106-3123-6
ISBN: 978-1-5106-3124-3
Paper 1119915, 4 pp.
European Workshop on Optical Fibre Sensors (EWOFS) <7, 2019, Limassol>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ICT ()

A detailed knowledge of the internal flow distribution inside a zinc-nickel flow battery is of critical importance to ensure smooth flow of the electrolyte through the battery cell and better operation of the device. Information of this type can be used as a useful means of early detection of zinc deposition and dendrite formation inside the cell, negative factors which affect the flow and thus which can lead to internal short circuiting, this being a primary failure mode of these types of batteries. This deposition occurs at low pH levels when zinc reacts with the electrolyte to form solid zinc oxide hydroxides. Traditionally, manual inspection is conducted, but this is time consuming and costly, only providing what are often inaccurate results – overall it is an impractical solution especially with the wider use of batteries in the very near future. Fibre Bragg grating (FBG) sensors integrated inside the flow cell offer the advantage of measuring flow changes at multiple locations using a single fibre and that then can be used as an indicator of the correlation between the internal flow distribution and the deposition characteristics. This work presents an initial study, where two networks of FBGs have been installed and used for flow change detection in an active zinc-nickel flow battery. Data have been obtained from the sensor networks and information of battery performance completed and summarized in this paper. The approach shows promising results and thus scope for the future research into the development of this type of sensor system.