North Carolina State University is seeking an industrial partner to commercialize a novel electrode system for reverse electrodialysis.
Energy and water are two of our most valuable resources. There is a need to find a renewable energy sources that are clean, cheap and can continuously produce a large amount of electricity and have a low impact on the environment. Reverse electrodialysis (RED) for electricity production from salinity gradients is an emerging, yet proven, technology. RED can generate electricity mixing water of different salinities, e.g. seawater and river water, which has the potential to produce up to 65% of the global energy demand (1-3 TW). RED provides both energy and environmental benefits because it is a carbon-neutral technology. In RED, multiple ion exchange membranes in conjunction with two terminal electrodes convert ionic current into an electrical current. Grid-scale electricity generation from RED technology from mixing salt and fresh water has been proven with 200 MW power plants under construction in Europe. RED can also store renewably generated electricity (e.g. off-peak wind and/or solar) by creating energy rich salinity gradients and can augment wastewater-treating microbial fuel cells. It therefore has multiple energy and environmental applications.
Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a novel electrode system for RED. Unlike the conventional ferricyanide system which is potentially harmful to the environment and may cause degradation of the RED membranes,environmentally friendly carbon particles are used as flow electrodes with are continuously recirculated in combination with a large surface area brush current collector. This generates uninterrupted and stable power during the gradient mixing process.
This novel electrode system could also be used several other technologies including electrodialysis for water desalination, replacing reverse osmosis. It is suitable for use in flow/salinity batteries for large scale energy storage as well as microbial fuel cells.
- Environmentally friendly
- Modified for use in:
- Eectrodialysis for water desalination
- Flow/salinity batteries for energy storage
- Microbial fuel cells for use in waste water treatment
Related Patent Information
A patent application related to this invention has been filed.
About the Lead Inventor
Dr. Call is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at North Carolina State University. Dr. Call is interested in the development of efficient biological and electrochemical technologies to recover energy, nutrients, and high-value chemicals from unconventional and impaired water sources, such as wastewater and salinity gradients. Dr. Call received both his MS (2008) and PhD (2011) in Environmental Engineering from Penn State University. He continued as a postdoctoral scientist at Penn State until becoming an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Syracuse University in 2012.