Osmotic power generation by pressure retarded osmosis using seawater brine as the draw solution and wastewater retentate as the feed

C.F. Wan, T.-S. Chung
Journal of Membrane Science, volume 479, 148-158, (2015)

Osmotic power generation by pressure retarded osmosis using seawater brine as the draw solution and wastewater retentate as the feed

Keywords

Osmotic energy, Pressure retarded osmosis, Thin film composite membrane, Power density, Fouling

Abstract

​Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) is a promising technology to produce clean and sustainable osmotic energy from salinity gradient. Fresh water is of scarcity in Singapore; however, alternative sources of feed solutions and draw solutions are well explored. For the first time, seawater brine from the TuaSpring desalination plant and wastewater retentate from the NEWater plant were used in a state-of-the-art TFC–PES hollow fiber membrane PRO process. The highest power densities obtained with 1 M NaCl solution and seawater brine were 27.0 W/m2 and 21.1 W/m2 at 20 bar, respectively, when deionized (DI) water was used as the feed solution. However, the highest power density dropped to 4.6 W/m2 when wastewater retentate was used as the feed solution. Fouling on the porous substrate induced by the wastewater retentate was identified as the main cause of the reduction in the power densities, while the negative effects of seawater brine on the PRO performances were negligible. Both ultrafiltration (UF) and nanofiltration (NF) pretreatment were employed to mitigate fouling from the wastewater retentate, and the power densities were boosted to 6.6 W/m2 and 8.9 W/m2, respectively, beyond the power density of 5 W/m2 proposed by Statkraft for the PRO process to be economical.

Code

DOI: 10.1016/j.memsci.2014.12.036

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