Miniaturized salinity gradient energy harvesting devices

Wei Shan Hsu, Anant Preet, Tung Yi Lin, Tzu-En Lin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Harvesting salinity gradient energy, also known as “osmotic energy” or “blue energy”, generated from the free energy mixing of seawater and fresh river water provides a renewable and sustainable alternative for circumventing the recent upsurge in global energy consumption. The osmotic pressure resulting from mixing water streams with different salinities can be converted into electrical energy driven by a potential difference or ionic gradients. Reversed-electrodialysis (RED) has become more prominent among the conventional membrane-based separation methodologies due to its higher energy efficiency and lesser susceptibility to membrane fouling than pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO). However, the ion-exchange membranes used for RED systems often encounter limi-tations while adapting to a real-world system due to their limited pore sizes and internal resistance. The worldwide demand for clean energy production has reinvigorated the interest in salinity gradient energy conversion. In addition to the large energy conversion devices, the miniaturized devices used for powering a portable or wearable micro-device have attracted much attention. This review provides insights into developing miniaturized salinity gradient energy harvesting devices and recent advances in the membranes designed for optimized osmotic power extraction. Furthermore, we present various applications utilizing the salinity gradient energy conversion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5469
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number18
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2021


  • Blue energy
  • Energy harvesting
  • Ion-exchange membranes
  • Nanofluidic membranes
  • Osmotic energy
  • Reverse electro-dialysis (RED)
  • Salinity gradient energy


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