High thermal gradient in Thermo-Electrochemical cells by insertion of a Poly(Vinylidene Fluoride) membrane

Syed Waqar Hasan, Suhana Mohd Said, Mohd Faizul Mohd Sabri, Ahmad Shuhaimi Abu Bakar, Nur Awanis Hashim, Megat Muhammad Ikhsan Megat Hasnan, Jennifer Pringle, Douglas Macfarlane

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Thermo-Electrochemical cells (Thermocells/TECs) transform thermal energy into electricity by means of electrochemical potential disequilibrium between electrodes induced by a temperature gradient (ΔT). Heat conduction across the terminals of the cell is one of the primary reasons for device inefficiency. Herein, we embed Poly(Vinylidene Fluoride) (PVDF) membrane in thermocells to mitigate the heat transfer effects - we refer to these membrane-thermocells as MTECs. At a ΔT of 12 K, an improvement in the open circuit voltage (Voc) of the TEC from 1.3 mV to 2.8 mV is obtained by employment of the membrane. The PVDF membrane is employed at three different locations between the electrodes i.e. x = 2 mm, 5 mm, and 8 mm where 'x' defines the distance between the cathode and PVDF membrane. We found that the membrane position at x = 5 mm achieves the closest internal ΔT (i.e. 8.8 K) to the externally applied ΔT of 10 K and corresponding power density is 254 nWcm-2; 78% higher than the conventional TEC. Finally, a thermal resistivity model based on infrared thermography explains mass and heat transfer within the thermocells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29328
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2016

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