Ion-gradient batteries using ion-selective 2D materials to separate hydrogel compartments with different salt concentrations

Learning from the electric torpedo ray to increase the power generation efficiency of ion-gradient batteries

Energy conversion from salinity gradients, for instance at river estuaries, is a promising strategy for the renewable generation of electricity. One limitation of these devices is, however, the low power output due to the high internal resistance of these reverse electrodialysis (RED) devices. The goal of this project is to fabricate nanoporous large area (cm2) 2D materials to provide the thinnest possible charge- or ion-selective membranes, an idea inspired by the electric torpedo ray's electric organ, which uses large area cells separated by nanometer thick ion-selective lipid membranes. The nanopores in 2D membranes are typically only a few nanometers wide, and this is expected to reduce the resistance to ion flow by several orders of magnitude compared to traditional RED membranes. The members of the team combine expertise in the fabrication of large, defect-free (multi-)layers 2D materials with experience in electric eel-inspired power generation.

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