Recovered Energy from Salinity Gradients Utilizing Various Poly(Acrylic Acid)-Based Hydrogels
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPolymers. 2021, 13 (4), 645. 10.3390/polym13040645
Hydrogels can be utilized to extract energy from salinity gradients when river water mixes with seawater. Saline-sensitive hydrogels exhibit a reversible swelling/shrinking process when they are, alternately, exposed to fresh and saline water. We present a comparison of several poly(acrylic acid)-based hydrogels, including poly(acrylic acid) (PAA), poly(acrylic acid-co-vinylsulfonic acid) (PAA/PVSA), and poly(4-styrenessulfonic acid-co-maleic acid) interpenetrated in a poly(acrylic acid) network (PAA/PSSA-MA). The hydrogels were synthesized by free radical polymerization, copolymerization, and by semi-IPN (interpenetrating polymer network). The hydrogels were placed in a piston-like system to measure the recovered energy. Semi-IPN hydrogels exhibit a much higher recovered energy compared to the copolymer and PAA hydrogel. The recovered energy of 60 g swollen gel was up to 4 J for the PAA/PSSA-MA hydrogel. The obtained energy per gram dried gel was up to 13.3 J/g. The swelling volume of the hydrogels was maintained for 30 cycles without decline in recovered energy.