Dual-Use of Seawater Batteries for Energy Storage and Water Desalination

Seawater batteries are unique energy storage systems for sustainable renewable energy storage by directly utilizing seawater as a source for converting electrical energy and chemical energy. This technology is a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to lithium-ion batteries, benefitting from seawater-abundant sodium as the charge-transfer ions. Research has significantly improved and revised the performance of this type of battery over the last few years. However, fundamental limitations of the technology remain to be overcome in future studies to make this method even more viable. Disadvantages include degradation of the anode materials or limited membrane stability in aqueous saltwater resulting in low electrochemical performance and low Coulombic efficiency. The use of seawater batteries exceeds the application for energy storage. The electrochemical immobilization of ions intrinsic to the operation of seawater batteries is also an effective mechanism for direct seawater desalination. The high charge/discharge efficiency and energy recovery make seawater batteries an attractive water remediation technology. Here, the seawater battery components and the parameters used to evaluate their energy storage and water desalination performances are reviewed. Approaches to overcoming stability issues and low voltage efficiency are also introduced. Finally, an overview of potential applications, particularly in desalination technology, is provided.