3 years ago

Ultrathin and Ion-Selective Janus Membranes for High-Performance Osmotic Energy Conversion

Ultrathin and Ion-Selective Janus Membranes for High-Performance Osmotic Energy Conversion
Zhen Zhang, Lei Jiang, Kai Xiao, Xiang-Yu Kong, Ganhua Xie, Pei Li, Longcheng Gao, Xin Sui, Liping Wen
The osmotic energy existing in fluids is recognized as a promising “blue” energy source that can help solve the global issues of energy shortage and environmental pollution. Recently, nanofluidic channels have shown great potential for capturing this worldwide energy because of their novel transport properties contributed by nanoconfinement. However, with respect to membrane-scale porous systems, high resistance and undesirable ion selectivity remain bottlenecks, impeding their applications. The development of thinner, low-resistance membranes, meanwhile promoting their ion selectivity, is a necessity. Here, we engineered ultrathin and ion-selective Janus membranes prepared via the phase separation of two block copolymers, which enable osmotic energy conversion with power densities of approximately 2.04 W/m2 by mixing natural seawater and river water. Both experiments and continuum simulation help us to understand the mechanism for how membrane thickness and channel structure dominate the ion transport process and overall device performance, which can serve as a general guiding principle for the future design of nanochannel membranes for high-energy concentration cells.

Publisher URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jacs.7b02794

DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b02794

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