In this paper, an innovative direct power generation technique from salinity gradient is proposed and demonstrated. The basis of this novel method encompasses forward osmosis (FO) and electrokinetic (EK) principles. Tapping the concentration difference between seawater and river fresh water, forward osmosis (FO) is utilized to allow for spontaneously transporting water across a semi-permeable membrane. The flow of water is then directed towards array of microchannels in the form of porous medium where power is produced from the electrokinetical streaming potential. Experimentally, NaCl solution and DI water were used to model as seawater and fresh river water, respectively. Both glass and polymer based porous media and commercial flat sheet FO membranes were employed herein. Results show power density could reach the order of 101W/m2. Having features of ease of fabrication, simple configuration and no mechanical moving parts, this method provides a feasible mean to harvest enormous energy from salinity gradient. Thus the proposed technique could contribute greatly to renewable energy and towards sustainable future.

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