Pressure drop in reverse electrodialysis: Experimental and modeling studies for stacks with variable number of cell pairs

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Abstract

Reverse electrodialysis (RED) is a sustainable technology for salinity gradient energy harvesting. In order to make the process economically competitive, it is desirable to operate it at the highest possible net power density, which depends on the RED stack geometry and on the pressure drop along its pathways and, thus, on the energy spent for solutions pumping. The fluid flow in RED stacks generally occurs in rectangular compartment channels, equipped with spacers. The effects of spacers design and properties have been studied extensively in recent years. However, the other possible causes for a RED stack and their relative impact on the process performance have not yet been systematically studied. In this study the partial pressure drops in (1) distribution ducts, (2) branches, (3) beams, (4) due to sudden section expansion between the beam and the compartment channel and (5) in the compartment channel were taken into consideration. A model for the total pressure drop inside a RED stack, with a parallel fluid flow distribution through the compartments, is proposed and experimentally validated for lab-scale RED stacks with sheet flow spacers and compared with an open channel (spacer-free) design. The importance of each partial pressure drop was then evaluated quantitatively through model simulations for industrial-scale stacks with an increasing number of cell pairs. It was found that the net power density decreases when the cell-pair number increases, since the partial pressure drop in the branches becomes dominant. Moreover, the possible reasons for a non-uniform fluid flow distribution are discussed, thus making the proposed model useful for planning and/or optimization of RED stacks design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-111
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Volume462
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2014

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electrodialysis
Electrodialysis
Partial Pressure
pressure drop
Pressure drop
Cell Count
Pressure
compartments
spacers
cells
Partial pressure
fluid flow
partial pressure
Flow of fluids
Salinity
radiant flux density
flow distribution
Technology
Energy harvesting
salinity

Keywords

  • Cell-pair number
  • Net power density
  • Pressure drop
  • Reverse electrodialysis (RED)
  • Salinity gradient energy

Cite this

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title = "Pressure drop in reverse electrodialysis: Experimental and modeling studies for stacks with variable number of cell pairs",
abstract = "Reverse electrodialysis (RED) is a sustainable technology for salinity gradient energy harvesting. In order to make the process economically competitive, it is desirable to operate it at the highest possible net power density, which depends on the RED stack geometry and on the pressure drop along its pathways and, thus, on the energy spent for solutions pumping. The fluid flow in RED stacks generally occurs in rectangular compartment channels, equipped with spacers. The effects of spacers design and properties have been studied extensively in recent years. However, the other possible causes for a RED stack and their relative impact on the process performance have not yet been systematically studied. In this study the partial pressure drops in (1) distribution ducts, (2) branches, (3) beams, (4) due to sudden section expansion between the beam and the compartment channel and (5) in the compartment channel were taken into consideration. A model for the total pressure drop inside a RED stack, with a parallel fluid flow distribution through the compartments, is proposed and experimentally validated for lab-scale RED stacks with sheet flow spacers and compared with an open channel (spacer-free) design. The importance of each partial pressure drop was then evaluated quantitatively through model simulations for industrial-scale stacks with an increasing number of cell pairs. It was found that the net power density decreases when the cell-pair number increases, since the partial pressure drop in the branches becomes dominant. Moreover, the possible reasons for a non-uniform fluid flow distribution are discussed, thus making the proposed model useful for planning and/or optimization of RED stacks design.",
keywords = "Cell-pair number, Net power density, Pressure drop, Reverse electrodialysis (RED), Salinity gradient energy",
author = "Sylwin Pawlowski and Crespo, {Jo{\~a}o G.} and Svetlozar Velizarov",
note = "Sem PDF. The financial support of this work by Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT), Lisbon (Portugal), through Project Pest-C/EQB/LA0006/2013 is acknowledged. Sylwin Pawlowski acknowledges FCT for his PhD research grant SFRH/BD/68649/2010.",
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AU - Pawlowski, Sylwin

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AU - Velizarov, Svetlozar

N1 - Sem PDF. The financial support of this work by Fundacao para a Ciencia e a Tecnologia (FCT), Lisbon (Portugal), through Project Pest-C/EQB/LA0006/2013 is acknowledged. Sylwin Pawlowski acknowledges FCT for his PhD research grant SFRH/BD/68649/2010.

PY - 2014/7/15

Y1 - 2014/7/15

N2 - Reverse electrodialysis (RED) is a sustainable technology for salinity gradient energy harvesting. In order to make the process economically competitive, it is desirable to operate it at the highest possible net power density, which depends on the RED stack geometry and on the pressure drop along its pathways and, thus, on the energy spent for solutions pumping. The fluid flow in RED stacks generally occurs in rectangular compartment channels, equipped with spacers. The effects of spacers design and properties have been studied extensively in recent years. However, the other possible causes for a RED stack and their relative impact on the process performance have not yet been systematically studied. In this study the partial pressure drops in (1) distribution ducts, (2) branches, (3) beams, (4) due to sudden section expansion between the beam and the compartment channel and (5) in the compartment channel were taken into consideration. A model for the total pressure drop inside a RED stack, with a parallel fluid flow distribution through the compartments, is proposed and experimentally validated for lab-scale RED stacks with sheet flow spacers and compared with an open channel (spacer-free) design. The importance of each partial pressure drop was then evaluated quantitatively through model simulations for industrial-scale stacks with an increasing number of cell pairs. It was found that the net power density decreases when the cell-pair number increases, since the partial pressure drop in the branches becomes dominant. Moreover, the possible reasons for a non-uniform fluid flow distribution are discussed, thus making the proposed model useful for planning and/or optimization of RED stacks design.

AB - Reverse electrodialysis (RED) is a sustainable technology for salinity gradient energy harvesting. In order to make the process economically competitive, it is desirable to operate it at the highest possible net power density, which depends on the RED stack geometry and on the pressure drop along its pathways and, thus, on the energy spent for solutions pumping. The fluid flow in RED stacks generally occurs in rectangular compartment channels, equipped with spacers. The effects of spacers design and properties have been studied extensively in recent years. However, the other possible causes for a RED stack and their relative impact on the process performance have not yet been systematically studied. In this study the partial pressure drops in (1) distribution ducts, (2) branches, (3) beams, (4) due to sudden section expansion between the beam and the compartment channel and (5) in the compartment channel were taken into consideration. A model for the total pressure drop inside a RED stack, with a parallel fluid flow distribution through the compartments, is proposed and experimentally validated for lab-scale RED stacks with sheet flow spacers and compared with an open channel (spacer-free) design. The importance of each partial pressure drop was then evaluated quantitatively through model simulations for industrial-scale stacks with an increasing number of cell pairs. It was found that the net power density decreases when the cell-pair number increases, since the partial pressure drop in the branches becomes dominant. Moreover, the possible reasons for a non-uniform fluid flow distribution are discussed, thus making the proposed model useful for planning and/or optimization of RED stacks design.

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