Boosting power generation from salinity gradient on high-density nanoporous membrane using thermal effect

Van Phung Mai, Ruey Jen Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The potential for harvesting energy from salinity gradients using nanoporous membranes has attracted significant attention in the blue energy field. To maximize the harvesting efficiency, it is necessary to both enlarge the effective area of the nanopores and control the nanopore density in such a way as to suppress the ion concentration polarization (ICP) effect. However, this is not easily achieved in large-scale manufacturing due to technology limitations. Accordingly, this study proposes a method for minimizing the ICP in conventional high-nanopore-density membranes by imposing a temperature gradient across the low- and high-concentration salt reservoirs. The feasibility of the proposed method is demonstrated experimentally by increasing the temperature of the low salt concentration reservoir by 25 K compared to that of the high concentration reservoir. It is shown that the application of an asymmetric heating effect increases the power generation by around 64% compared to the isothermal case. The experimental results are validated by means of COMSOL multiphysics simulations based on the Poisson-Nernst-Planck, Navier-Stokes and heat transfer equations. The simulation results indicate that the higher power generation obtained under asymmetric thermal heating is the result of a lower ICP at the nanopore-reservoir interface, which enhances the ion transport through the membrane.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115294
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sep 15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Building and Construction
  • Energy(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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