Thermochemically regenerative flow batteries for solar electricity generation and storage

Abraham Kribus, Michael Epstein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


External thermochemical regeneration (charging) at high temperature for a flow battery by concentrated sunlight is proposed, and electricity is produced by conventional electrochemical discharge of the battery. Analysis of the conversion efficiency and plant sizing is presented for three material systems, sodium-sulfur, zinc-air, and lithium-air systems. Addition of carbon to the metal-air systems to reduce reaction temperature is also analyzed. The thermodynamic upper limit (ideal system) for solar to electricity conversion efficiency is above 60% for all systems, but the required reactor temperatures are very high. Hybrid carbothermic reduction reaches the same theoretical efficiency at lower temperatures. The practical efficiency with accounting for realistic losses can reach up to 35%, which is very high compared with existing solar electricity technologies. A smaller plant size, smaller and simpler storage tanks, and flexibility in electrochemical generation from storage without thermal machinery offer advantages that make this approach very promising.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUltra-High Temperature Thermal Energy Storage, Transfer and Conversion
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780128199558
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Carbothermic reduction
  • Concentrating solar power (CSP)
  • Energy storage
  • Flow battery
  • Lithium-air battery
  • Sodium-sulfur battery
  • Thermoelectrochemical storage (TECS)
  • Zinc-air battery


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