Thermo-osmotic energy conversion using waste heat is one of the approaches to harvesting sustainable energy and reducing associated environmental impacts simultaneously. In principle, ions transport through a charged nanopore membrane under the effect of a thermal gradient, inducing a different voltage between two sides of the membrane. Recent publications mainly reported novel materials for enhancing the thermoelectric voltage in response to temperature difference, the so-called Seebeck coefficient. However, the effect of the surface charge distribution along nanopores on thermo-osmotic conversion has not been discussed yet. In this paper, a numerical simulation based on the Nernst–Planck–Poisson equations, Navier–Stokes equations, and heat transfer equations is carried out to consider the effect of surface charge-regulation density and pH of KCl solutions on the Seebeck coefficient. The results show that the highest ionic Seebeck coefficient of −0.64 mV/K is obtained at 10−4 M KCl solution and pH 9. The pH level and pore structure also reveal a strong effect on the thermo-osmotic performance. Moreover, the pH level at one reservoir is varied from 5 to 9, while the pH of 5 is fixed at the other reservoir to investigate the pH effect on the thermos-osmosis ion transport. The results confirm the feasibility that using the pH can enhance the thermo-osmotic conversion for harvesting osmotic power from low-grade heat energy.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Materials Science(all)