Upscaling reverse electrodialysis

Jordi Moreno, Simon Grasman, Ronny van Engelen, Kitty Nijmeijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)
163 Downloads (Pure)


Salinity gradient energy is a sustainable, renewable, and clean energy source. When waters with different salinities are mixed, the change in Gibbs free energy can be harvested as energy and only brackish water remains. Reverse electrodialysis is one of the technologies that can harvest this sustainable energy source. High power densities have been obtained in small lab scale systems, but translation to large industrial scale stacks is essential for commercialization of the technology. Moreover, power density is an important parameter, and efficiency, i.e., the amount of energy harvested compared to the amount of energy available in the feed waters, is critical for commercial processes. In this work, we systematically investigate the influence of stack size and membrane type on power density, thermodynamic efficiency, and energy efficiency. Results show that the residence time is an excellent parameter for comparing differently sized stacks and translating lab scale experimental results to larger pilot stacks. Also, the influence of undesired water permeability and co-ion diffusion (as reflected in permselectivity) is clearly visible when measuring the thermodynamic efficiency. An averaged thermodynamic efficiency of 44.9% is measured using Fujifilm Type 10 anion exchange and cation exchange membranes that have low water permeability and high permselectivity. This value comes close to the thermodynamic maximum of 50%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10856–10863
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science & Technology
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2018


  • Energy-Generating Resources
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Renewable Energy
  • Salinity
  • Thermodynamics


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