Comparison of Pretreatment Methods for Salinity Gradient Power Generation Using Reverse Electrodialysis (RED) Systems

Membranes (Basel). 2022 Mar 29;12(4):372. doi: 10.3390/membranes12040372.

ABSTRACT

With the increasing concern about climate change and the energy crisis, the use of reverse electrodialysis (RED) to utilize salinity gradient power (SGP) has drawn attention as one of the promising renewable energy sources. However, one of the critical issues in RED processes is membrane fouling and channel blockage, which lead to a decrease in the power density. Thus, this study aims to improve our understanding of SGP generation by using RED by investigating the effect of pretreatment on the RED performance. Experiments were conducted by using a laboratory-scale experimental setup for RED. The low-salinity and high-salinity feed solutions were brackish water reverse osmosis (BWRO) brine from a wastewater reclamation plant, and a NaCl solution simulating seawater desalination brine. Several pretreatments were applied to the RED process, such as cartridge filter (CF), microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF), activated filter media (AFM), and granular activated carbon (GAC). The results indicate that the open-circuit voltage (OCV) and the power density were similar, except for in the NF pretreatment, which removed the dissolved ions to increase the net SGP. However, the pressure in the RED stack was significantly affected by the pretreatment types. The excitation-emission matrix (EEM) fluorescence spectroscopy and the parallel factor analysis (PARAFAC) quantified the organic compounds that are related to the stack pressure. These results suggest that the removal of both colloidal and organic matters by pretreatments is crucial for improving the RED performance by reducing the pressure that is increased in the RED stack.

PMID:35448343 | DOI:10.3390/membranes12040372

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