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The University of Southampton

Dr Xiaohong Li & Dr Richard G.A. Wills


Zinc/Air Flow Battery for Energy Storage

Image of Dr Xiaohong Li
Dr Xiaohong Li


Redox flow batteries, which have been developed over the last 40 years, are used to store energy on the medium to large scale (10 kW to 10 MW). They are particularly suited to applications such as load levelling, power quality control and facilitating renewable energy deployment. In this presentation we will introduce a zinc/air flow battery, which is currently being developed under an EU FP7 funded project; POWAIR.

The presentation comprises two parts. The first part will focus on design/fabrication of a gas diffusion electrode (GDE) suitable for use as a bifunctional oxygen electrode in the zinc/air flow battery. The requirements and challenges for viable bifunctional oxygen GDEs will be highlighted. Then a novel procedure for the fabrication of a carbon-free, non-precious metal-based GDE will be described and a number of influential parameters on the GDE structure will be discussed. The second part will focus on the incorporation of the bifunctional electrode into an operational zinc-air battery. Data on performance from a small laboratory cell will be presented before the design considerations for engineering larger, bipolar systems are discussed.

Image of Dr Richard Wills
Dr Richard Wills


Dr Xiaohong Li & Dr Richard Wills are both Senior Consulting Engineers in the Research Institute for Industry (RIfI) in the Faculty of Engineering & the Environment at the University of Southampton. Xiaohong’s research interests include flow batteries, water electrolysers, and nanostructured electrode materials (for electrocatalysis, optoelectronics, thermoelectric devices and sensors). Richard’s research interests are focussed on electrochemical energy storage and energy technologies. Specific research areas include redox flow batteries, lead acid batteries, fuel cells and electrode materials.

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