Modeling and Optimization of Membrane Process for Salinity Gradient Energy Production
Song, Lianfa (TTU)
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When hydraulic pressure was added on the feed side of the membrane in the otherwise conventional pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) process, the production rate of the salinity gradient energy could be significantly increased by manipulating the hydraulic pressures on both sides of the membrane. With hydraulic pressure added on the feed side of the membrane, much higher water flux could be obtained than that under the osmotic pressure of the same value. The osmotic pressure of the draw solution, instead of drawing water through the membrane, was mainly reserved to increase the hydraulic pressure of the permeate. In this way, orders of magnitude higher power density than that in the conventional PRO can be obtained with the same salinity gradient. At the optimal conditions, it was demonstrated that the energy production rates that were much higher than the economical breakeven point could be obtained from the pair of seawater and freshwater with the currently available semipermeable membranes.