This paper presents an efficient closed-form solution (ECS) for acoustic emission(AE) source location in three-dimensional structures using time difference of arrival (TDOA) measurements from N receivers, N ≥ 6. The nonlinear location equations of TDOA are simplified to linear equations. The unique analytical solution of AE sources for unknown velocity system is obtained by solving the linear equations. The proposed ECS method successfully solved the problems of location errors resulting from measured deviations of velocity as well as the existence and multiplicity of solutions induced by calculations of square roots in existed close-form methods. © 2014 Author(s).