skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Continuous electrochemical heat engines

Abstract

Given the large magnitude of energy in waste heat, its efficient conversion to electrical power offers a significant opportunity to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, it has been difficult to optimize the performance of new direct energy conversion approaches because of the coupling between entropy change and thermal and electrical transport in continuously operating devices. With electrochemical cells driving flowing electrolytes in symmetric redox reactions at different temperatures, we demonstrate two continuous electrochemical heat engines that operate at 10–50 °C and at 500–900 °C, respectively. Simulations of kilowatt-scale systems using electrochemical cells stacked in series suggest efficiencies over 30% of the Carnot limit and areal power densities competitive with solid-state thermoelectrics at maximum power. Although entropy change, thermal transport and electrical transport are inherently coupled in solid-state thermoelectrics, they can be somewhat circumvented in electrochemical systems, thus offering new opportunities to engineer efficient energy conversion systems.

Authors:
 [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States); SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
  2. Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States)
  3. Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States); SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States); Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford, CA (United States)
  4. Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy, Stanford, CA (United States); Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1490884
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1461903
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-76SF00515; DGE-1147470
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Energy & Environmental Science
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 1754-5692
Publisher:
Royal Society of Chemistry
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION

Citation Formats

Poletayev, Andrey D., McKay, Ian S., Chueh, William C., and Majumdar, Arun. Continuous electrochemical heat engines. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1039/c8ee01137k.
Poletayev, Andrey D., McKay, Ian S., Chueh, William C., & Majumdar, Arun. Continuous electrochemical heat engines. United States. doi:10.1039/c8ee01137k.
Poletayev, Andrey D., McKay, Ian S., Chueh, William C., and Majumdar, Arun. Mon . "Continuous electrochemical heat engines". United States. doi:10.1039/c8ee01137k. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1490884.
@article{osti_1490884,
title = {Continuous electrochemical heat engines},
author = {Poletayev, Andrey D. and McKay, Ian S. and Chueh, William C. and Majumdar, Arun},
abstractNote = {Given the large magnitude of energy in waste heat, its efficient conversion to electrical power offers a significant opportunity to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, it has been difficult to optimize the performance of new direct energy conversion approaches because of the coupling between entropy change and thermal and electrical transport in continuously operating devices. With electrochemical cells driving flowing electrolytes in symmetric redox reactions at different temperatures, we demonstrate two continuous electrochemical heat engines that operate at 10–50 °C and at 500–900 °C, respectively. Simulations of kilowatt-scale systems using electrochemical cells stacked in series suggest efficiencies over 30% of the Carnot limit and areal power densities competitive with solid-state thermoelectrics at maximum power. Although entropy change, thermal transport and electrical transport are inherently coupled in solid-state thermoelectrics, they can be somewhat circumvented in electrochemical systems, thus offering new opportunities to engineer efficient energy conversion systems.},
doi = {10.1039/c8ee01137k},
journal = {Energy & Environmental Science},
number = 10,
volume = 11,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {7}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Nanostructured Thermoelectrics: Big Efficiency Gains from Small Features
journal, July 2010

  • Vineis, Christopher J.; Shakouri, Ali; Majumdar, Arun
  • Advanced Materials, Vol. 22, Issue 36, p. 3970-3980
  • DOI: 10.1002/adma.201000839

Complex thermoelectric materials
journal, February 2008

  • Snyder, G. Jeffrey; Toberer, Eric S.
  • Nature Materials, Vol. 7, Issue 2, p. 105-114
  • DOI: 10.1038/nmat2090

An electrochemical system for efficiently harvesting low-grade heat energy
journal, May 2014

  • Lee, Seok Woo; Yang, Yuan; Lee, Hyun-Wook
  • Nature Communications, Vol. 5, Article No. 3942
  • DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4942

New Directions for Low-Dimensional Thermoelectric Materials
journal, April 2007

  • Dresselhaus, M. S.; Chen, G.; Tang, M. Y.
  • Advanced Materials, Vol. 19, Issue 8, p. 1043-1053
  • DOI: 10.1002/adma.200600527

Cooling, Heating, Generating Power, and Recovering Waste Heat with Thermoelectric Systems
journal, September 2008


A Review of Power Generation in Aqueous Thermogalvanic Cells
journal, January 1995

  • Quickenden, T. I.; Mua, Y.
  • Journal of The Electrochemical Society, Vol. 142, Issue 11, p. 3985-3994
  • DOI: 10.1149/1.2048446

Semi-Solid Lithium Rechargeable Flow Battery
journal, May 2011

  • Duduta, Mihai; Ho, Bryan; Wood, Vanessa C.
  • Advanced Energy Materials, Vol. 1, Issue 4, p. 511-516
  • DOI: 10.1002/aenm.201100152

Searching for a Better Thermal Battery
journal, March 2012


A metal-free organic–inorganic aqueous flow battery
journal, January 2014

  • Huskinson, Brian; Marshak, Michael P.; Suh, Changwon
  • Nature, Vol. 505, Issue 7482, p. 195-198
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature12909