Nitrogen-Doped Carbon Nanotube/Graphite Felts as Advanced Electrode Materials for Vanadium Redox Flow Batteries

Nitrogen-doped carbon nanotubes have been grown, for the first time, on graphite felt (N-CNT/GF) by a chemical vapor deposition approach and examined as an advanced electrode for vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs). The unique porous structure and nitrogen doping of N-CNT/GF with increased surface area enhances the battery performance significantly. The enriched porous structure of N-CNTs on graphite felt could potentially facilitate the diffusion of electrolyte, while the N-doping could significantly contribute to the enhanced electrode performance. Specifically, the N-doping (i) modifies the electronic properties of CNT and thereby alters the chemisorption characteristics of the vanadium ions, (ii) generates defect sites that are electrochemically more active, (iii) increases the oxygen species on CNT surface, which is a key factor influencing the VRFB performance, and (iv) makes the N-CNT electrochemically more accessible than the CNT.