Exploiting the spontaneous potential of the electrodes used in the capacitive mixing technique for the extraction of energy from salinity difference

D. Brogioli, R. Ziano, R.A. Rica, D. Salerno, O. Kozynchenko, H.V.M. Hamelers, F. Mantegazza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The "capacitive mixing" (CAPMIX) technique is aimed at the extraction of energy from the salinity difference between the sea and rivers. It is based on the voltage rise that takes place at the electrodes when changing the salt concentration of the solution in which the two electrodes are dipped. In this paper, we focus on activated carbon electrodes, produced with various methods and treatments, and we measure their behaviour in CAPMIX experiments. We find that they behave as polarizable electrodes only on time scales of the order of minutes, while on longer time scales they tend to move to a specific "spontaneous" potential, likely due to chemical redox reactions. This analysis sheds light on the charge leakage, i.e. the loss of the stored charge due to undesired chemical reactions, which is one of the main hurdles of the CAPMIX technique when performed with activated carbon electrodes. We show that the leakage finds its origin in the tendency of the electrode to move to its spontaneous potential. Our investigation allows us to completely get rid of the leakage and demonstrates the striking result that CAPMIX cycles can be performed without an external power supply.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9870-9880
JournalEnergy & Environmental Science
Volume5
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • gradient power
  • water
  • desalination
  • adsorption
  • battery
  • supercapacitor
  • performance
  • storage
  • salt

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