Take it to the Carnot limit: Perspectives and thermodynamics of dual-cell electrochemical heat engines

Dowon Bae, Anders Bentien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


In electrochemical dual-cell heat engines, the conduction of heat and electricity are fully decoupled, allowing their independent optimisation to maximise the conversion efficiency. Despite this advantage, the dual-cell electrochemical heat engine has only been explored superficially in previous studies. Here we address the in-depth thermodynamic aspects of the heat engines integrated with two electrochemical flow cells and assess the route to achieve a high heat-to-electricity conversion efficiency and system's power output. Our theoretical analysis revealed for the first time that in the dual-cell electrochemical system, the flow rate must be controlled as a response to the electrical current, and conversion efficiency no longer depend on the conventional thermoelectric figure-of-merit. Based on established principles and considering tremendous advancements for the past 10 years within thermogalavic materials and flow battery systems, our analysis presents that it is realistic to develop dual-cell electrochemical heat engines that can be operated at conversion efficiencies approaching the Carnot limit, reaching 10.1 % and 19.3 % at maximum power point and maximum conversion efficiency conditions, respectively, under the temperature gradient of 80 °C.
Original languageEnglish
Article number116315
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Early online date11 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022


  • Electrochemical heat engine
  • Heat-to-chemical conversion
  • Redox flow cell
  • Thermogalvanic effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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