An energy conversion microchip consisting of two circular microchambers and a Nafion-filled microchannel is fabricated using standard micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) techniques. When the chambers are filled with KCl solutions with different concentrations, the Nafion microchannel acts as a cation-selective membrane and results in the generation of electrical power through a reverse electrodialysis (RED) process. The current-potential characteristics of the Nafion membrane are investigated for devices with various microchannel lengths and electrolyte concentration ratios. It is shown that for a given voltage, the current and generated power increase with a reducing channel length due to a lower resistance. In addition, a maximum power density of 755 mW/m2 is obtained given an electrolyte concentration ratio of 2000:1 (unit is mM). The optimal device efficiency is found to be 36% given a channel length of 1 mm and a concentration ratio of 1000:1 (mM). Finally, no enhancement of the short circuit current is observed at higher concentration ratios..
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Control and Systems Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering