Faradaically selective membrane for liquid metal displacement batteries

  • Nature Energyvolume 3pages127131 (2018)
  • doi:10.1038/s41560-017-0072-1
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In the realm of stationary energy storage, a plurality of candidate chemistries continues to vie for acceptance, among them the Na–NiCl2 displacement battery, which has eluded widespread adoption owing to the fragility of the β″-Al2O3 membrane. Here we report a porous electronically conductive membrane, which achieves chemical selectivity by preferred faradaic reaction instead of by regulated ionic conduction. Fitted with a porous membrane of TiN, a displacement cell comprising a liquid Pb positive electrode, a liquid Li–Pb negative electrode and a molten-salt electrolyte of PbCl2 dissolved in LiCl–KCl eutectic was cycled at a current density of 150 mA cm−2 at a temperature of 410 °C and exhibited a coulombic efficiency of 92% and a round-trip energy efficiency of 71%. As an indication of industrial scalability, we show comparable performance in a cell fitted with a faradaic membrane fashioned out of porous metal.

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We acknowledge financial support from Total, S.A.

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Author notes

  1. Huayi Yin, Brice Chung, Fei Chen and Takanari Ouchi contributed equally to this work.


  1. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA

    • Huayi Yin
    • , Brice Chung
    • , Fei Chen
    • , Takanari Ouchi
    • , Ji Zhao
    • , Nobuyuki Tanaka
    •  & Donald R. Sadoway
  2. School of Metallurgy, Northeastern University, Shenyang, China

    • Huayi Yin
  3. State Key Lab of Advanced Technology for Materials Synthesis and Processing, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China

    • Fei Chen
  4. Nuclear Hydrogen & Heat Application Research Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Ibaraki, Japan

    • Nobuyuki Tanaka


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H.Y., B.C., F.C. and T.O. contributed equally to this work. D.R.S., B.C., H.Y. and T.O. conceived of the idea for the project. H.Y., B.C., F.C., T.O., J.Z. and N.T. constructed the battery and conducted the tests. F.C., J.Z., N.T. and H.Y. prepared the TiN membrane. T.O. verified the stability of TiN in this cell. H.Y., B.C., T.O. and D.R.S. prepared the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Donald R. Sadoway.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1–10, Supplementary Tables 1–3.