Membranes for Osmotic Power Generation by Reverse Electrodialysis


In recent years, the utilization of the selective ion transport through porous membranes for osmotic power generation (blue energy) has received a lot of attention. The principal of power generation using the porous membranes is same as that of conventional reverse electrodialysis (RED), but nonporous ion exchange membranes are conventionally used for RED. The ion transport mechanisms through the porous and nonporous membranes are considerably different. Unlike the conventional nonporous membranes, the ion transport through the porous membranes is largely dictated by the principles of nanofluidics. This owes to the fact that the osmotic power generation via selective ion transport through porous membranes is often referred to as nanofluidic reverse electrodialysis (NRED) or nanopore-based power generation (NPG). While RED using nonporous membranes has already been implemented on a pilot-plant scale, the progress of NRED/NPG has so far been limited in the development of small-scale, novel, porous membrane materials. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the membrane design concepts of nanofluidic porous membranes for NPG/NRED. A brief description of material design concepts of conventional nonporous membranes for RED is provided as well.
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