Novel principle of thermal energy conversion into electricity
The overall objective of the pilot project is to design, construct and demonstrate the combined autonomous system for desalination of sea and sewage water.
The system is based on small power generator which transforms low-potential thermal energy into electrical one, and desalination plant that powered by this generator.
Currently there are a view methods producing power from thermal energy. Among them are the semiconductor thermoelectrical converters based on Peltie, Seebek or Thomson effect, solar boilers which use the concentrated solar heat producing water vapor to move turbines, turbines with low boiling–point fluids utilizing temperature gradient in solar ponds, etc.
The method proposed by us is based on reverse electrodialysis. As it is known, the usual electrodialyzer consumes electrical power for separation of saline water into concentrated and diluted solutions. The reverse process of power generating by mixing two solutions with different salt concentration should give electrical energy. However, until now the attempts to obtain power from salinity gradient in electrolyzers were unsuccessful because amount of obtained electrical energy was very low from practical point of view. We have discovered an unique method of enhancing the efficiency of reverse electrodialysis process and achieved good results in power generation.
The know-how of our technology lies in additional usage of temperature gradient of surrounding medium for enhancing the process. The temperature difference may be as low as 500. As a heat source may be utilized the solar collectors, the heat of ground water, low-potential heat from power plants, etc. There are other innovations in electrolyzer construction and operating regimes.