Rapid Wet-Chemical Oxidative Activation of Graphite Felt Electrodes for Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries
To boost the performance of vanadium redox flow batteries, modification of the classically used felt electrodes is required to enable higher cycling performance and longer life cycles. Alternative approaches to the standard thermal oxidation procedure such as wet chemical oxidation are promising to reduce the thermal budget and thus the cost of the activation procedure. In this work we report a rapid 1 hour activation procedure in an acidified KMnO4 solution. We show that the reported modification process of the felt electrodes results in an increase in surface area, density of oxygenated surface functionalities as well as electrolyte wettability, as demonstrated by N2-physisorption, XPS, Raman spectroscopy as well as contact angle measurements. The activation process enables battery cycling at remarkably high current densities up to 400 mA cm−2. Stable cycling at 400 mA cm−2 over 30 cycles confirms promising stability of the reported activation procedure.