High Efficiency in Energy Generation from Salinity Gradients with Reverse Electrodialysis

David A. Vermaas, Joost Veerman, Ngai Yin Yip, Menachem Elimelech, Michel Saakes, Kitty Nijmeijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)


Renewable energy can be captured from the mixing of salt and fresh water in reverse electrodialysis. This paper investigates the energy efficiency of this process for feed waters that pass a reverse electrodialysis cell once and waters that pass multiple cells or electrode segments. So far, the maximum theoretical energy efficiency was considered to be 50% when the feed waters pass a single cell once; significantly higher efficiencies could only be obtained when the waters were recirculated or passed multiple electrodes. In this study, we show that the ion transport corresponding to the obtained energy and the electromotive force mutually influence each other, which enables capture of more than 50% (even up to 95%) of the theoretical energy, even when the feedwater streams pass a reverse electrodialysis cell only once.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1295-1302
JournalACS sustainable chemistry & engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Reverse electrodialysis
  • Renewable energy
  • Efficiency
  • Entropy
  • Salinity gradient energy
  • Ion exchange membranes


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