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Electrocatalytic fuel cell desalination for continuous energy and freshwater generation

  • Advanced hydrogen technologies contribute essentially to the decarbonization of our industrialized world. Large-scale hydrogen production would benefit from using the abundantly available water reservoir of our planet’s oceans. Current seawater-desalination technologies suffer from high energy consumption, high cost, or low performance. Here, we report technology for water desalination at seawater molarity, based on a polymer ion-exchange membrane fuel cell. By continuously supplying hydrogen and oxygen to the cell, a 160-mM concentration decrease from an initial value of 600 mM is accomplished within 40 h for a 55-mL reservoir. This device’s desalination rate in 600 mM NaCl and substitute ocean water are 18 g/m2/h and 16 g/m2/h, respectively. In addition, by removing 1 g of NaCl, 67 mWh of electric energy is generated. This proof-of-concept work shows the high application potential for sustainable fuel-cell desalination (FCD) using hydrogen as an energy carrier.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Yuan Zhang, Lei WangORCiD, Volker PresserORCiD
Parent Title (English):Cell Reports Physical Science
First Page:100416
Year of first Publication:2021
Release Date:2022/08/10
Tag:desalination; energy generation; fuel cell; hydrogen; seawater
Impact:07.832 (2021)
Funding Information:Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) (201906260277)
Research Departments:Energie-Materialien
DDC classes:500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 530 Physik
Open Access:Open Access
Signature:INM 2021/057
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International