Abstract

Renewable energy sources and related conversion technologies are considered as the main solution for resolving the current issues related to global warming and environmental protection. Salinity gradient energy (SGE) is a source of renewable energy which can be defined as the Gibbs Energy of mixing when two solutions with different salinities mix together. The difference in the salinity of salt solutions is the main driving force of energy production by the SGE conversion technologies. One of the main conversion technologies of SGE is reverse electrodialysis (RED). In this technology the gradient between the concentrated and diluted salt solutions, the ions with a negative charge (anion) and positive charge (cation) pass through selective ion exchange membranes known as anion exchange membrane and cation exchange membrane. The driving force for diffusion of the ions is a function of the concentration gradient. The chemical potential of the salt solution is a function of the concentration of the salt solution and plays an important role in the Gibbs energy of mixing. The chemical potential of the salt solution is a thermodynamic property which is a function of the concentration and activity coefficient of the salt solution. The activity coefficient of the salt solution is a unique parameter which depends on the ionic strength of the solution and the type of ions in the salt solution. The salts with higher activity coefficient have a higher potential to be used in the SGE conversion process due to higher released Gibbs Energy during the mixing process. In this paper the thermodynamic model presented by Bromley [1], is used to calculate activity coefficient of 20 salts at different concentrations (0.01–6 molal). Two dimensionless parameters, Φ and Ψ, are defined as the ratio of activity coefficient and concentration between the concentrated and diluted solutions in 6 and 0.5 molal respectively. Using the dimensionless parameters, the theoretical open circuit voltage (OCV) of salt solutions in a RED cell is calculated. The salts are screened and ranked based on the activity coefficients and the theoretical open circuit voltage (OCV). The best salts are selected for use in a RED cell based on the activity coefficients and theoretical OCV. These alts could have potential for developing SGE storage systems in combination with renewable energy devices.

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