Improved fluid mixing and power density in reverse electrodialysis stacks with chevron-profiled membranes

Sylwin Pawlowski*, Timon Rijnaarts, Michel Saakes, Kitty Nijmeijer, João G. Crespo, Svetlozar Velizarov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)
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Spacer-less RED stacks using membranes with integrated spacer profiles have been investigated during the last years to eliminate the spacer shadow effect. The presence of spacers partially blocks the membrane surface and creates a tortuous and thus longer path for ions in the channel, meaning higher ohmic resistance. Consequently, power outputs are reduced. Profiled membranes may solve this problem as they provide flow channels for the feed streams, while the relief formed on their surfaces keeps the membranes separated. Although the geometry and arrangement of so far used profiles led to lower ohmic resistance, it did not grant an efficient fluid mixing. Recently, so-called chevron profiles, with enhanced mixing, were proposed based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. In the present study, the performance of such chevron-profiled membranes, prepared by thermal pressing, was experimentally validated in a reverse electrodialysis (RED) stack. According to the obtained experimental values of non-ohmic resistance and total pressure drop across the RED stack, the chevron-profiled membranes assure efficient fluid mixing at comparatively low hydraulic losses. The net power density obtained with chevron-profiled membranes was the highest obtained for the present stack design. It outperformed the alternative RED stack configurations investigated in this study, such as channels with optimized spacers and channels formed by pillar-profiled membranes. To allow for an even more straightforward and efficient RED stack assembling with chevron-profiled membranes, recommendations for a further simplified design, consisting of diagonal ridges that are assembled perpendicularly, are provided.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-121
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of membrane science
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Chevron profiles
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Net power density
  • Profiled membranes
  • Reverse electrodialysis
  • n/a OA procedure


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