What is it about?

Researchers are looking for new, clean, and accessible sources of energy due to rising global warming caused by the usage of fossil fuels and the irreversible harm that this does to the environment. Water salinity is one of the newest and most accessible renewable energy sources, which has sparked a lot of interest. Reverse electrodialysis (RED) has been utilized in the past to turn saline water into electricity. NRED, a reverse electrodialysis method utilizing nanofluidics, has gained popularity as nanoscale research advances. Developing and evaluating NRED systems is time-consuming and expensive due to the method’s novelty; thus, modeling is required to identify the best locations for implementation and to comprehend its workings. In this work, we examined the influence of bipolar soft layer and nanochannel geometry on ion transfer and power production simultaneously. To achieve this, the two trumpet and cigarette geometries were coated with a bipolar soft layer so that both negative (type (I)) and positive (type (II)) charges could be positioned in the nanochannel’s small aperture. After that, at steady state conditions, the Poisson–Nernst–Planck (PNP) and Navier–Stokes (NS) equations were solved concurrently. The findings revealed that altering the nanochannel coating from type (I) to type (II) alters the channel’s selectivity from cations to anions. An approximately 22-fold improvement in energy conversion efficiency was achieved by raising the concentration ratio from 10 to 100 for the type (I) trumpet nanochannel. Type (I) cigarette geometry is advised for maximum power output at low and medium concentration ratios, whereas type (I) trumpet geometry is recommended for the maximum power production at high concentration ratios.

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Why is it important?

Today, energy production is one of the most basic needs of humans. Therefore, the study of new methods for the production of electrical energy can improve the methods of electricity production.


Writing this article was a great pleasure as it has co-authors with whom I have had long standing collaborations. This article helped me in my efforts to improve energy production for future generations.

Hossein Dartoomi
Iran University of Science and Technology

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This page is a summary of: Nanofluidic Membranes to Address the Challenges of Salinity Gradient Energy Harvesting: Roles of Nanochannel Geometry and Bipolar Soft Layer, Langmuir, August 2022, American Chemical Society (ACS), DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.2c01790.
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