"Charge-Free Mixing Entropy Battery Enabled by Low-Cost Electrode Materials"

Meng Ye: Mauro Pasta, Xing Xie, Kristian L. Dubrawski, Jianqaio Xu, Chong Liu, Yi Cui, and Craig S. Criddle; American Chemical Society, 07/31/19.

Additional Authors: Mauro Pasta, Xing Xie, Kristian L. Dubrawski, Jianqaio Xu, Chong Liu, Yi Cui, and Craig S. Criddle

Abstract:

Salinity gradients are a vast and untapped energy resource. For every cubic meter of freshwater that mixes with seawater, approximately 0.65 kW h of theoretically recoverable energy is lost. For coastal wastewater treatment plants that discharge to the ocean, this energy, if recovered, could power the plant. The mixing entropy battery (MEB) uses battery electrodes to convert salinity gradient energy into electricity in a four-step process: (1) freshwater exchange; (2) charging in freshwater; (3) seawater exchange; and (4) discharging in seawater. Previously, we demonstrated a proof of concept, but with electrode materials that required an energy investment during the charging step. Here, we introduce a charge-free MEB with low-cost electrodes: Prussian Blue (PB) and polypyrrole (PPy). Importantly, this MEB requires no energy investment, and the electrode materials are stable with repeated cycling. The MEB equipped with PB and PPy achieved high voltage ratios (actual voltages obtained divided by the theoretical voltages) of 89.5% in wastewater effluent and 97.6% in seawater, with over 93% capacity retention after 50 cycles of operation and 97−99% over 150 cycles with a polyvinyl alcohol/sulfosuccinic acid (PVA/SSA) coating on the PB electrode.