In traditional flow batteries, two electrolyte solutions with redox active molecules flow through a reactor and are separated by a membrane to prevent crossover of the species across electrolytes. At IMDEA Energy, Andres worked with a PhD student from the Electrochemical Processes unit on the development of a novel redox flow battery architecture that removes the need for a membrane. This could theoretically allow for a decrease in cost and complexity of the battery. Although possible systems had been tested for separation of redox species in this architecture, they had not undergone electrochemical characterization, which was Andres’ primary task. In doing so, Andres determined various properties of redox active species within two possible systems. Additionally, he prepared one of these systems within a static version of the architecture to determine necessary battery characterization, such as cyclability and polarization of the cell. These will allow for the group to determine if there is long-term performance durability of the cell and where losses are coming from at the cell level.
Honing language and cultural capabilities
In addition to refining and building on his electrochemical skills, Andres was able to build on his language skills and cultural understanding through living and working in Spain. Being one of the first opportunities to develop his Spanish in an independent and native setting, this was a beneficial experience in learning how to maneuver the line between mixed language communications to get ideas across and in further establishing his Spanish capabilities. Along with fellow MISTI-Spain interns, Andres also took this as an opportunity to learn more about Spain and the surrounding region. From running with the bulls in Pamplona to watching a match between Real Madrid and Barcelona, Andres took every opportunity possible to learn more about other cultures and the world around him.