Osmotic power generation with positively and negatively charged 2D nanofluidic membrane pairs

Jinzhao Ji, Qian Kang, Yi Zhou, Yaping Feng, Xi Chen, Jinying Yuan, Wei Guo, Yen Wei, Lei Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

180 Citations (Scopus)


In nature, hierarchically assembled nanoscale ionic conductors, such as ion channels and ion pumps, become the structural and functional basis of bioelectric phenomena. Recently, ion-channel-mimetic nanofluidic systems have been built into reconstructed 2D nanomaterials for energy conversion and storage as effective as the electrogenic cells. Here, a 2D-material-based nanofluidic reverse electrodialysis system, containing cascading lamellar nanochannels in oppositely charged graphene oxide membrane (GOM) pairs, is reported for efficient osmotic energy conversion. Through preassembly modification, the surface charge polarity of the 2D nanochannels can be efficiently tuned from negative (−123 mC m−2) to positive (+147 mC m−2), yielding strongly cation- or anion-selective GOMs. The complementary two-way ion diffusion leads to an efficient charge separation process, creating superposed electrochemical potential difference and ionic flux. An output power density of 0.77 W m−2 is achieved by controlled mixing concentrated (0.5 m) and diluted ionic solutions (0.01 m), which is about 54% higher than using commercial ion exchange membranes. Tandem alternating GOM pairs produce high voltage up to 2.7 V to power electronic devices. Besides simple salt solutions, various complex electrolyte solutions can be used as energy sources. These findings provide insights to construct cascading nanofluidic circuits for energy, environmental, and healthcare applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1603623
Number of pages8
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • 2D materials
  • biomimetics
  • energy conversion
  • ion transport
  • nanofluidics

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