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.