Topology optimization for the design of flow fields in a redox flow battery

Kentaro Yaji*, Shintaro Yamasaki, Shohji Tsushima, Takahiro Suzuki, Kikuo Fujita

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents topology optimization for the design of flow fields in vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs), which are large-scale storage systems for renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power. It is widely known that, in recent VRFB systems, one of the key factors in boosting charging or discharging efficiency is the design of the flow field around carbon fiber electrodes and in flow channels. In this study, topology optimization is applied in order to achieve optimized flow field designs. The optimization problem is formulated as a maximization problem for the generation rate of the vanadium species governed by a simplified electrochemical reaction model. A typical porous model is incorporated into the optimization problem for expressing the carbon fiber electrode; furthermore, a mass transfer coefficient that depends on local velocity is introduced. We investigate the dependencies of the optimized configuration with respect to the porosity of the porous electrode and the pressure loss. Results indicate that patterns of interdigitated flow fields are valid designs for VRFBs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-546
Number of pages12
JournalStructural and Multidisciplinary Optimization
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Feb 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Interdigitated flow field
  • Local mass transfer coefficient
  • Porous model
  • Topology optimization
  • Vanadium redox flow battery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Control and Optimization


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