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Recovery of Entropic Energy at Wastewater Treatment Plants Discharging to Saline Environments

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Funding Year: 2012

Research Areas: Freshwater, Oceans, Sustainability

Regions: North America 

Wastewater treatment plants that discharge treated wastewater to saline environments do not currently recover energy from the salinity difference between the treated wastewater and the saline environments. This project will use specially designed batteries to tap the salinity difference to produce electricity, helping to convert wastewater treatment plants into power plants.

The batteries are fabricated from novel electrode materials and designed to minimize cost and maximize energy recovery. Because wastewater treatment plants are in urgent need of renewal, they provide an excellent setting for scale-up and application. This project also envisions applications ranging from coastal systems that are periodically flushed by tides (aquifers, estuaries) to ships that navigate between fresh and salt water bodies.

Learn more about the Environmental Venture Projects grant program and other funded projects.

Principal Investigators:

Craig Criddle, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment

Yi Cui, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, of Photon Science, Senior Fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy and Professor, by courtesy, of chemistry

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A new battery made from affordable and durable materials generates energy from places where salt and fresh waters mingle. The technology could make coastal wastewater treatment plants energy-independent and carbon neutral.

Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment