Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2021, Vol. 37 ›› Issue (3): 2005013.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB202005013

• REVIEW • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Research Progresses on Vanadium-Based Cathode Materials for Aqueous Zinc-Ion Batteries

Yongli Heng1, Zhenyi Gu2, Jinzhi Guo2, Xinglong Wu1,2,*()   

  1. 1 Faculty of Chemistry, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, P. R. China
    2 Key Laboratory for UV Light-Emitting Materials and Technology of Ministry of Education, Northeast Normal University, Changchun 130024, China
  • Received:2020-05-06 Accepted:2020-06-11 Published:2020-06-17
  • Contact: Xinglong Wu
  • About author:Xinglong Wu. Email: Tel.: +86-431-85099128
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China(91963118);the Science Technology Program of Jilin Province, China(20200201066JC);the "13th Five-Year" Science and Technology Research from the Education Department of Jilin Province, China(JJKH20201179KJ)


In the past few decades, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) have dominated the market of rechargeable batteries and are extensively applied in the field of electronic devices (e.g., mobile phones and computers). However, lack of lithium resources, high cost of lithium as well as toxic and flammable organic electrolytes significantly hinder further development and large-scale application of LIBs. Therefore, it is necessary to develop next-generation green rechargeable batteries to replace LIBs. Recently, aqueous zinc-ion batteries (AZIBs) have been considered as energy storage devices with substantial development prospects for future large-scale storage systems owing to their high safety performance, low production cost, abundant zinc resources, and environmental friendliness. Typically, we use zinc metal as the anode with neutral or weakly acidic aqueous electrolyte (pH: 3.6–6.0). However, cathode materials have high requirements for AZIBs while considering the charge effect of multivalent metal ions. Currently, one of the research emphases is to develop suitable zinc ion intercalation cathode materials with stable structures and high capacities. Among all types of cathode materials, vanadium-based compounds have the advantages of low cost and high reversible capacity. Additionally, their structure is variable, mainly including layered, tunneled and natrium super ionic conductor (NASICON) structure. Therefore, vanadium-based compounds have clear application possibility in AZIBs. However, there are still several significant problems. In particular, vanadium-based compounds generally have poor conductivity and low voltage platform. Electrochemical performance can be significantly improved mainly by pre-inserting metal ions or water molecules, optimizing the electrolyte, and controlling morphology of nanomaterials (nanosheets, nanospheres, etc.). In addition, the zinc storage mechanism in vanadium-based compounds is more complicated and controversial, including Zn2+ intercalation/deintercalation mechanism, co-insertion mechanism, and conversion reaction mechanism. Moreover, different materials usually exhibit different electrochemical properties and energy storage mechanisms. In this review, we comprehensively describe the energy storage mechanisms of vanadium-based compounds and discuss the application as well as development status of vanadium-based materials in AZIBs. Further, several strategies for improving their performance are proposed, including structural design (e.g., pre-insertion of metal ions or water molecules), morphology control (e.g., carbon coating), and electrolyte optimization (e.g., adjustment of composition and concentration). In particular, pre-insertion of metal ions or water molecules in the original structure can effectively solve these problems of low ion diffusion rate, poor conductivity, and structural instability, thereby achieving excellent electrochemical performance. Moreover, the application of a high-concentration electrolyte is a simple and effective strategy that can not only significantly widen the electrochemical stability window of the aqueous electrolyte but also suppress the dissolution of vanadium, thereby effectively improving energy density and cycling stability for AZIBs. Accordingly, the future development direction of AZIBs and their vanadium-based cathode materials is further prospected, aiming at designing high-performance electrode materials for AZIBs.

Key words: Aqueous zinc-ion battery, Cathode material, Vanadium-based compound, Electrolyte, Energy storage mechanism