Energy storage

A concept that is being investigated by a diverse number of parties is electricity storage using RED/ED technology. A stack can also be used to desalinate water by applying a current and an over-potential to the stack instead of using it to generate power. Using electricity to generate a salinity gradient is known as electrodialysis (ED). In times of excess electricity, power can be applied to a stack fed with brackish water – the electricity will split the brackish water into fresh and salt water. When there is no longer an excess of electricity, the two solutions can be re-fed into the stack and electricity can be generated using reverse electrodialysis (RED).

It is interesting to note that this energy storage technology was proposed before RED was regarded as an energy generation process on its own. George Manecke published his idea in 1952 using the name Membranakkumulator, in which he proposed to use an isolated stack, equipped with a saline solution and ion-exchange membranes, to charge and discharge electricity based on the ED/RED principle. It wasn’t until two years later, that Richard Pattle proposed his idea of using continually flowing feed waters of different salinity in an electrochemical cell to generate electricity. Combining these ideas into a large scale energy storage technology has great potential to be commercially feasible.

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