Saltwater flow battery for water desalination applications

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US-based Infinity Turbine announced it developed a new water desalination system that deploys a saltwater redox flow battery from its subsidiary Salgenx.

“The desalination system operates by using a saltwater flow battery cycle, which involves the movement of ions between two electrodes to store or discharge electricity without a membrane, which is typical with Vanadium or Bromine flow batteries,” Salgenx’s CEO Greg Giese told pv magazine. “In this case, the process is used to remove salt from brine or seawater. The system can use a renewable energy source, such as solar power or a large wind turbine, to charge the battery, making it both environmentally friendly and cost-effective.”

The new desalination system is currently being developed in a lab setting and will be trialed in a real-world environment for both stationary and marine vessel applications, according to Giese.

The technology can purportedly be used by cruise and cargo ships, as well as advanced base military operations, where desalination is a better response than transporting in freshwater, or using expensive reverse osmosis systems, according to Giese.

“This is a game-changer for the desalination industry,” said Giese. “Our system provides a sustainable and cost-effective way of producing fresh water from seawater, which is essential in areas where water scarcity is a major issue. We are excited to be at the forefront of this technology and look forward to working with partners to bring this solution to communities around the world.”

The battery manufacturer said its saltwater redox flow battery has an energy density of 125.7 Wh/L. The company claims material costs of $5/kWh, $257kWh for system infrastructure, and a total system cost of $500,000, or $166/kW for the 3,000 kWh battery.

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