Improved Reverse Electrodialysis for High Density Power Generation


Technology # 13-34

Improved method using natural salinity gradients as source of energy


Worldwide energy needs demand the development of more sustainable sources of energy. Previous research has shown that natural salinity gradients can be used as a source of energy. Methods that use these gradients include pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) and reverse electrodialysis (RED). PRO is limited by the pressurization required to extract the energy from these sources while RED is limited by the electrical resistance in the water used as inputs. The University of Arkansas researchers have developed a process that greatly reduces the electrical resistance inherent in the process, thus improving power generation and reducing the amount of membrane required for power generation by a factor of one hundred. This process also makes RED much more advantageous when compared to the current technology of PRO. By using new technology for RED energy generation, a significant amount of energy can be created quickly and at a low cost.



•       Oil shale and natural gas hydraulic fracturing

•       Natural salinity gradient power generation facilities



•       Improved power generation capabilities of salinity gradients

•       Reduced overall membrane area required for RED processes



In the energy sector, hydraulic fracking is currently being used to obtain shale gas in large quantities. A side product of this process is a large amount of contaminated water. Fortunately, this contaminated water has high levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) which are useful for reverse electrodialysis. Using the newly developed technology, contaminated brine can be used as an electrical energy source that requires very little equipment that can be designed for transport to numerous fracking sites. Therefore, we have developed a process that eliminates the electrical resistance issue in RED processes, improving power generation and reducing the amount of  membrane required for power generation.


This invention is available for licensing. For interested parties seeking further information, feel free to contact:

Mark Allen Lanoue

Technology Manager / Tech Ventures

University of Arkansas

(479) 575-7243


Patent Information:
App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date
PCT United States PCT/US14/041343 6/6/2014    
For Information, Contact:
Mark Lanoue
Technology Manager
University of Arkansas
Jamie Hestekin
Hailey Dunsworth
Alex Lopez
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