Clean energy generation using capacitive electrodes in reverse electrodialysis

David Vermaas, S. Bajracharya, B. Bastos Sales, Michel Saakes, B. Hamelers, Dorothea C. Nijmeijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Capacitive reverse electrodialysis (CRED) is a newly proposed technology to generate electricity from mixing of salt water and fresh water (salinity gradient energy) by using a membrane pile as in reverse electrodialysis (RED) and capacitive electrodes. The salinity difference between salt water and fresh water generates a potential difference over ion selective membranes, which can be used as a renewable power source. The strength and unique characteristic of CRED in comparison to the other technologies is that it allows multiple membrane cells between a single set of electrodes and at the same time avoids redox reactions using capacitive electrodes. The capacitive electrodes use activated carbon on a support of Ti/Pt mesh to store ions and their charge. A periodic switching of the feed waters, combined with a switching of the direction of the electric current, ensures that the capacitive electrodes do not get saturated. The large membrane pile enables the electrodes to be charged more than in previous approaches for capacitive mixing. As a consequence, the energy cycle of CRED has a larger range in both voltage and accumulated charge compared to previous capacitive mixing technologies. The power density obtainable with CRED stacks with capacitive electrodes is an order of magnitude higher than in previous attempts for capacitive energy extraction and close to or even better than similar RED stacks with conventional redox based electrode systems. CRED is considered to be a stable, safe, clean and high performing technology to obtain energy from mixing of salt water and fresh water.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)643-651
JournalEnergy & environmental science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • METIS-293977
  • IR-86766


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