Energy Conversion from Flowing Salinity Gradients over Nanoscale Metal Layers

Project: Research project

Project Details


Current approaches for electric power generation from nanoscale conducting or semiconducting
layers in contact with moving aqueous droplets are promising as they show
efficiencies of around 30%, yet they pose challenges regarding fabrication (multistep processes
involving exfoliation, atomic layer deposition, and/or chemical vapor deposition) and scaling
(the structures are feasible to prepare over cm2 areas but the energy conversion scales with
surface area, so m2 areas are desirable). Indeed, there has been no single-step synthesis
approach for preparing energy transducers that is also feasible for covering large (m2) areas
until now. Moreover, use of aqueous droplets pose performance limitations due to drop size
(surface tension of water) and drop speed (terminal velocity on earth).
This project overcomes two key challenges: the first is to prepare and evaluate, at reasonable
speed, a number of single- and dual-element all-inorganic nanoarchitectures synthesized in a
single step over large areas to pursue an exploratory investigation into the principles and limits
of operation involving energy conversion from flowing salinity gradients over nanoscale metal
layers. The second is to pursue experiments and computer simulations aimed at elucidating the
dynamics and the mechanism of operation so as to further extend the limits of operation and
performance inside continuous liquid flow cells.
Effective start/end date6/7/196/6/21


  • Army Research Office (W911NF1910361)


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