Based on the zinc–nickel single-flow battery, a generalized electrical simulation model considering the effects of flow rate, self-discharge, and pump power loss is proposed. The results compared with the experiment show that the simulation results considering the effect of self-discharge are closer to the experimental values, and the error range of voltage estimation during charging and discharging is between 0% and 3.85%. In addition, under the rated electrolyte flow rate and different charge–discharge currents, the estimation of Coulomb efficiency by the simulation model is in good agreement with the experimental values. Electrolyte flow rate is one of the parameters that have a great influence on system performance. Designing a suitable flow controller is an effective means to improve system performance. In this paper, the genetic algorithm and the theoretical minimum flow multiplied by different flow factors are used to optimize the variable electrolyte flow rate under dynamic SOC (state of charge). The comparative analysis results show that the flow factor optimization method is a simple means under constant charge–discharge power, while genetic algorithm has better performance in optimizing flow rate under varying (dis-)charge power and state of charge condition in practical engineering.
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