The acid–base flow battery: Sustainable energy storage via reversible water dissociation with bipolar membranes

Ragne Pärnamäe, Luigi Gurreri*, Jan Post, Willem Johannes van Egmond, Andrea Culcasi, Michel Saakes, Jiajun Cen, Emil Goosen, Alessandro Tamburini, David A. Vermaas, Michele Tedesco*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing share of renewables in electric grids nowadays causes a growing daily and seasonal mismatch between electricity generation and demand. In this regard, novel energy storage systems need to be developed, to allow large-scale storage of the excess electricity during low-demand time, and its distribution during peak demand time. Acid–base flow battery (ABFB) is a novel and environmentally friendly technology based on the reversible water dissociation by bipolar membranes, and it stores electricity in the form of chemical energy in acid and base solutions. The technology has already been demonstrated at the laboratory scale, and the experimental testing of the first 1 kW pilot plant is currently ongoing. This work aims to describe the current development and the perspectives of the ABFB technology. In particular, we discuss the main technical challenges related to the development of battery components (membranes, electrolyte solutions, and stack design), as well as simulated scenarios, to demonstrate the technology at the kW–MW scale. Finally, we present an economic analysis for a first 100 kW commercial unit and suggest future directions for further technology scale-up and commercial deployment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number409
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar membrane
  • Bipolar membrane electrodialysis
  • Energy storage
  • Flow battery
  • Reverse electrodialysis
  • Water dissociation


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