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Performance Analysis for Pressure Retarded Osmosis: Experimentation With High Pressure Difference and Varying Flow Rate, Considering Exposed Membrane Area

[+] Author Affiliations
Thomas T. D. Tran, Keunhan Park, Amanda D. Smith

University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Paper No. IMECE2016-67290, pp. V06BT08A017; 9 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 6B: Energy
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5059-6
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) is a process for renewable energy conversion that makes use of a salinity gradient between two bodies of water. A semipermeable membrane separates two solutions: the draw solution, with higher salinity, and the feed solution, with lower salinity. In this study, three system design choices for bench-scale PRO systems were investigated: mesh spacer opening area, hydraulic pressure difference, and relative flow rates. Mesh spacers provide mechanical support to the membrane, but can reduce the water flux. Moreover, the water flux behavior at high hydraulic pressure difference is shown to be nonlinear, departing from the theoretically predicted water flux, which is based on a linear model. The ratio of feed solution flow rate to draw solution flow rate also determines PRO performance. Experimental data from a bench-scale system is used to present design-relevant information for optimizing PRO systems toward higher power densities.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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