"Batteries for Efficient Energy Extraction from a Water Salinity Difference"

Fabio La Mantia: Mauro Pasta, Heather D. Deshazer, Bruce E. Logan; Nano Letters, 03/17/11.

Additional Authors: Mauro Pasta, Heather D. Deshazer, Bruce E. Logan

Abstract:

The salinity difference between seawater and river water is a renewable source of enormous entropic energy, but extracting it efficiently as a form of useful energy remains a challenge. Here we demonstrate a device called “mixing entropy battery”, which can extract and store it as useful electrochemical energy. The battery, containing a Na2−xMn5O10 nanorod electrode, was shown to extract energy from real seawater and river water and can be applied to a variety of salt waters. We demonstrated energy extraction efficiencies of up to 74%. Considering the flow rate of river water into oceans as the limiting factor, the renewable energy production could potentially reach 2 TW, or 13% of the current world energy consumption. The mixing entropy battery is simple to fabricate and could contribute significantly to renewable energy in the future.