Raising the Bar: Increased Hydraulic Pressure Allows Unprecedented High Power Densities in Pressure-Retarded Osmosis
Pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO) has the potential to generate sustainable energy from salinity gradients. PRO is typically considered for operation with river water and seawater, but a far greater energy of mixing can be harnessed from hypersaline solutions. This study investigates the power density that can be obtained in PRO from such concentrated solutions. Thin-film composite membranes with an embedded woven mesh were supported by tricot fabric feed spacers in a specially designed crossflow cell to maximize the operating pressure of the system, reaching a stable applied hydraulic pressure of 48 bar (700 psi) for more than 10 h. Operation at this increased hydraulic pressure allowed unprecedented power densities, up to 60 W/m2 with a 3 M (180 g/L) NaCl draw solution. Experimental power densities demonstrate reasonable agreement with power densities modeled using measured membrane properties, indicating high-pressure operation does not drastically alter membrane performance. Our findings exhibit the promise of the generation of power from high-pressure PRO with concentrated solutions.
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Also Published In
- Environmental Science and Technology
More About This Work
- Academic Units
- Earth and Environmental Engineering
- American Chemical Society
- Published Here
- July 3, 2016
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