CFD modelling of profiled-membrane channels for reverse electrodialysis

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Abstract

Abstract: Reverse electrodialysis (RE) is a promising technology for electric power generation from controlled mixing of two differently concentrated salt solutions, where ion-exchange membranes are adopted for the generation of ionic currents within the system. Channel geometry strongly influences fluid flow and thus crucial phenomena such as pressure drop and concentration polarization. Profiled membranes are an alternative to the more commonly adopted net spacers and offer a number of advantages: avoiding the use of non-conductive and relatively expensive materials, reducing hydraulic losses and increasing the active membrane area. In this work, Computational Fluid Dynamic simulations were performed to predict the fluid flow and mass transfer behaviour in channels with profiled membranes for RE applications. In particular, channels equipped with pillars were simulated. The influence of channel geometry on fluid flow and concentration polarization was assessed by means of a parametric analysis for different profile geometries. The unit cell approach along with periodic boundary conditions was adopted to simulate fully developed boundary conditions. Transport equations, valid also for concentrated solutions, were obtained from the rigorous Stefan–Maxwell equation along with the assumptions of binary electrolyte and local electroneutrality. Simulation results show that, in the geometries investigated here, the pumping power consumption is much lower than in a conventional net spacer and very close to that of the empty channel, while calm zones are generated by the profiles, which may accentuate polarization phenomena.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)3404-3423
Numero di pagine20
RivistaDesalination and Water Treatment
Volume55
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2015

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Pollution

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