Enhanced mixing in the diffusive boundary layer for energy generation in reverse electrodialysis

David Vermaas, Michel Saakes, Dorothea C. Nijmeijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)
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Renewable energy can be obtained from mixing waters with different salinity using reverse electrodialysis (RED). To obtain a high power per membrane area, combined with a low power consumption for pumping the feed water, RED is preferably operated using small intermembrane distances and low flow rates. However, the diffusive boundary layer near the membranes induces a significant (non-ohmic) resistance at lower flow rates. This is even more pronounced when a spacerless design, with profiled membranes, is used. This research presents how the non-ohmic resistance in RED can be reduced, and consequently the obtained power can be increased, without compromising the power consumed for pumping. Experiments were conducted using several designs, with and without mixing promoters such as twisted spacers and additional sub-corrugations on the membrane, to investigate the effect of additional mixing in the diffusive boundary layer on the obtainable power in RED. The results show that these mixing promoters are not effective at the low Reynolds numbers typically used in RED. The distribution of the feed water inflow, however, has a major impact on the non-ohmic resistance. The design with profiled membranes without sub-corrugations has the best performance, which is almost twice the net power density obtained with a design with normal spacers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-319
JournalJournal of membrane science
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • IR-88410
  • METIS-299829


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