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Issue 3, 2014
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Capacitive mixing power production from salinity gradient energy enhanced through exoelectrogen-generated ionic currents

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Abstract

Several approaches to generate electrical power directly from salinity gradient energy using capacitive electrodes have recently been developed, but power densities have remained low. By immersing the capacitive electrodes in ionic fields generated by exoelectrogenic microorganisms in bioelectrochemical reactors, we found that energy capture using synthetic river and seawater could be increased ∼65 times, and power generation ∼46 times. Favorable electrochemical reactions due to microbial oxidation of organic matter, coupled to oxygen reduction at the cathode, created an ionic flow field that enabled more effective passive charging of the capacitive electrodes and higher energy capture. This ionic-based approach is not limited to the use of river water-seawater solutions. It can also be applied in industrial settings, as demonstrated using thermolytic solutions that can be used to capture waste heat energy as salinity gradient energy. Forced charging of the capacitive electrodes, using energy generated by the bioelectrochemical system and a thermolytic solution, further increased the maximum power density to 7 W m−2 (capacitive electrode).

Graphical abstract: Capacitive mixing power production from salinity gradient energy enhanced through exoelectrogen-generated ionic currents

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Article information


Submitted
23 Nov 2013
Accepted
28 Jan 2014
First published
29 Jan 2014

Energy Environ. Sci., 2014,7, 1159-1165
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Capacitive mixing power production from salinity gradient energy enhanced through exoelectrogen-generated ionic currents

M. C. Hatzell, R. D. Cusick and B. E. Logan, Energy Environ. Sci., 2014, 7, 1159
DOI: 10.1039/C3EE43823F

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