Thermocells are non-isothermal electrochemical cells used to convert thermal energy into electricity. In a thermocell, together with the ion flux, heat is also transferred, which can reduce the temperature gradient and thus the delivered electric current. A charged membrane used as a separating barrier in the electrolyte liquid could reduce this problem. Therefore, the use of ion-exchange membranes has been suggested as an alternative in terms of thermoelectricity because of their high Seebeck coefficient. Ion transfer occurs not only at the liquid solution but also at the solid membrane when a temperature gradient is imposed. Thus, the electric current delivered by the thermocell will also be highly dependent on the membrane system properties. In this work, a polymeric membrane-based thermocell with 1:1 alkali chloride electrolytes and reversible Ag|AgCl electrodes at different temperatures is studied. This work focuses on the experimental relation between the short-circuit current density and the temperature difference. Short-circuit current is the maximum electric current supplied by a thermocell and is directly related to the maximum output electrical power. It can therefore provide valuable information on the thermocell efficiency. The effect of the membrane, electrolyte nature and hydrodynamic conditions is analysed from an experimental point of view.
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