Long-run operation of a reverse electrodialysis system fed with wastewaters

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The performance of a Reverse ElectroDialysis (RED) system fed by unconventional wastewater solutions for long operational periods is analysed for the first time. The experimental campaign was divided in a series of five independent long-runs which combined real wastewater solutions with artificial solutions for at least 10 days. The time evolution of electrical variables, gross power output and net power output, considering also pumping losses, was monitored: power density values obtained during the long-runs are comparable to those found in literature with artificial feed solutions of similar salinity. The increase in pressure drops and the development of membrane fouling were the main detrimental factors of system performance. Pressure drops increase was related to the physical obstruction of the feed channels defined by the spacers, while membrane fouling was related to the adsorption of foulants over the membrane surfaces. In order to manage channels partial clogging and fouling, different kinds of easily implemented in situ backwashings (i.e. neutral, acid, alkaline) were adopted, without the need for an abrupt interruption of the RED unit operation. The application of periodic ElectroDialysis (ED) pulses is also tested as fouling prevention strategy. The results collected suggest that RED can be used to produce electric power by unworthy wastewaters, but additional studies are still needed to characterize better membrane fouling and further improve system performance with these solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-887
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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