Real-time and remote monitoring of the state of charge (SOC) of a vanadium redox flow battery (VRFB) is technically desirable for achieving advanced compensation functions of VRFB systems. This paper, for the first time, proposes a novel SOC monitoring scheme based on an air-gap fiber Fabry–Perot interferometer (AGFFPI) sensor for the VRFB. The proposed sensing concept is based on real-time sensing of the refractive index (RI) of the positive electrolyte, which is found closely correlated to the VRFB’s SOC. The proposed SOC estimating scheme using fiber sensor has a number of merits, e.g., being precise, having lightweight, having strong acid resistance, and being easy to incorporate the state-of-the-art fiber communication technology for remote monitoring. It is found that the RI of the positive electrolyte solution exhibits distinct and linear variations in accordance with changes of the VRFB’s SOC value. Using the linear relationship between the electrolyte’s RI and SOC, a real-time SOC monitoring mechanism can be readily realized by the proposed AGFFPI. In this paper, existing SOC detecting methods for VRFB are firstly reviewed. The details concerning the proposed detecting method are then addressed. Typical experimental results are presented to verify the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed SOC estimating scheme.
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