You are on page 1of 5

Contemporary Urban Affairs

2017, Volume 1, Number 3, pages 49– 53

Membrane Permeability Threshold for Osmotic Power


Plant Efficiency
* A. Berger1, A. Lebrun2, S. Khan3, Q. Masson-Pilet4, A. Supizet5
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ECE Paris School of Engineering, France
A R T I C L E I N F O: ABSTRACT
Article history: In a context of ever-growing electricity consumption and need for less polluting
Received 2 August 2017 sources of energy, salinity gradient power (SGP) based on osmosis is a promising
Accepted 23 August 2017 technology. Salinity difference between two solutions separated by a semi-permeable
Available online 12 October membrane leads to the pressure increase. The aim of this study is to find the critical
2017 permeability threshold of a membrane for the dimensioning an osmotic power plant.
Keywords: Using Spiegler-Kedem equations, the various fluxes across the membrane have been
Osmotic Energy, calculated, and delivered power is explicitly derived in terms of system parameters.
Membranes, A necessary condition for economic viability is that its upper bound is larger than a
Permeability, critical threshold value below which osmotic power plant is not profitable. As it is
Osmotic Pressure. directly proportional to membrane permeability, fixing the optimal membrane
permeability value will in turn enable conceive more efficient membranes specifically
made for osmotic energy production, as such membranes do not exist today.
CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS (2017) 1(3), 49-53. Doi: 10.25034/ijcua.2018.3679

www.ijcua.com
Copyright © 2017 Contemporary Urban Affairs. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction harnessing of this energy for conversion into


The considerable and very fast growing energy power can be accomplished by means of
consumption consecutive to the economic Pressure Retarded Osmosis (PRO) (Kim, and
development of many countries is acutely raising Elimelech, 2013; Helfer, et al., 2014; Wang, et al.,
the question of avoiding disastrous 2012). This technique uses a semipermeable
environmental consequences which could membrane to separate a less concentrated
inevitably occur if only conventional fossil solution, or solvent, (for example, fresh water)
sources are used. To cope with such situation, a from a more concentrated and pressurized
large effort has been oriented toward other solution (for example sea water), allowing the
sources such as less damaging renewable ones solvent to pass to the concentrated solution side
(Lewis, et al., 2011; Kumar, et al., 2011). Aside (Post, 2009). The additional volume increases the
solar, wind, geothermal and hydraulic sources, pressure on this side, which can be depressurized
they also include other less evident ones which by a hydro-turbine to produce power and
may however represent interesting alternatives in electricity (Kleiterp, 2012) .As seventy percent of
specific situations. Earth surface is covered with water, 97 percent
Such is the osmotic power which is the process of of which is saltwater, the process created by
converting the pressure differential between mixing seawater with freshwater generates a
water with high salinity and water with lower or resulting osmotic power which could serve as
no salinity into hydraulic pressure (Loeb, 1975; *Corresponding Author:
Mishra, 2013; Kho, 2010; The European ECE Paris School of Engineering, France
Commission, 2004; Helfer, et al., 2013; Skilhagen, E-mail address: quentin.masson-pilet@edu.ece.fr
et al., 2012; Skilhagen, and Aaberg, 2012). The
JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS, 1(3), 49-53 / 2017

both renewable and consistent electricity with Cd, Ci and Cf the solute concentration in the draw
source. While still in early stages, best estimates solution, at the barrier-layer/support interface, and in the
of the global production potential of osmotic feed solution respectively, and Es = exp Jv De1] with 
power exceed 1,600 terawatt-hours, the the support thickness. Equality of fluxes in the barrier layer
equivalent of half of Europe entire energy and the support gives from (1,2,3) the non-dimensional
demand. There are two primary sources for equation
osmotic power: 1) natural occurrence where
{(1)(1E1)1 + E(1E)1} = (1r)(1E)1 
river water meets the sea water, and 2) merging
two man-made water sources from processing with  = 1 Ci/Cd,  the solute reflection coefficient, r =
plants Cf/Cd, /DeL,  the support thickness, L the barrier
Both methods can be viable but in 1), seawater layer thickness, De the effective diffusion coefficient of the
averages 40 grams of salt/ liter + River Water, solute, E = expX, X = F( <P>), F = ARTCdL/, 
less power is provided than in than 2), where the salt stoichiometric coefficient and finally <P> = (Pd
brine (from desalination) averages 60 grams of  Pf)/RTCd. For a given dimensionless hydrostatic-
salt/ liter + treated water. The higher the salinity, pressure difference <P>, (4) is a transcendental equation
the more free energy can be extracted, and the in (dimensionless concentration difference across the
more power can be generated. Today osmotic barrier layer) which determines the operating conditions of
power is a promising renewable energy source the osmotic plant for a given set of system parameters.
(RES) provided conversion factor from pressure
differential can be made large enough (Dinger, 3. Osmotic Power Plant Production
et al., 2012; Bræin, et al., 2010; Straub, et al., The basic energy production system is
2016). In the following, some elements on this composed of a compression unit which delivers
question will be discussed in PRO case. In pressurized salted water injected in a chamber
particular, the threshold value for permeability with a filtering membrane across which a flux of
coefficient which characterizes membrane salted water Js is crossing, see Figure 1.
efficiency for viable economic application is
determined.

2. Osmosis Pressure Representation


Potential osmotic pressure π, the maximum osmotic
pressure in a solution separated from osmosed fluid by a
selectively permeable membrane, is given by

 = CiRT (1)

with π the potential osmotic pressure (Pa), C the solute


molar concentration (mol m3), R = 8,314 J. mol−1 . K −1 ,
T solution temperature (°K), and I the particle number per
entity. Given the solutions, D and F with respective
osmotic pressures D and F, where D is draw solution
(most concentrated), and F feed one (less concentrated), Figure 1. Sketch of Osmotic Plant Balance
osmotic pressure difference DF between the two JS is Salt Flux across the Membrane.
solutions is typically equal to 12 bars for water fluid, ie,
12.105Pa. Let P = PD  PF with PD and PF the pressures of The power produced per surface unit of installed
solutions D and F. With Spiegler-Kedem [18] model flux
equations can be integrated and one gets volume and solute membrane is given W = JmP with W in Watts/m2,
fluxes Jv and Js flowing through the membrane with or else in non-dimensional form
<W> = W/A(RTCd)2 = <P>(<P>) (5)
pressure retarded osmosis

Jv = A(P) ; Js = Em)1Jv CdEm  Ci) (2) <W> is maximum when <P> = 2 and is then
equal to <W> = ()But this is not necessarily
with Jv , Js (m.s1) the volume and solute fluxes across the possible as  and <P> are also linked by (4) which
membrane,  the solute reflection coefficient, A(m.Pa1 imposes a constraint on system coefficients. One
s1) the membrane fluid permeability, and Em = exp (1 effectively gets for z = the transcendental
) JvL1] with  the solute permeability. Similarly in equation
the support one gets
Js = Es)1Jv CiEs  Cf) (3)
z{(1)(1E(z)1)1 + E(z)(1E(z))1} =  (1r)(1E(z))1 2

A. Berger1, A. Lebrun, S. Khan, Q. Masson-Pilet, A. Supizet 50


JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS, 1(3), 49-53 / 2017

with E(z) = expFz which relates “physical” z


(concentration performance) to “technical” F (barrier
quality). From this different limits can be evaluated
for possible power output from the system (Yip, and
Elimelech, 2012; Yip, and Elimelech, 2011; Lin et al.,
2014). However simple ones are directly obtained
from (6) for <W>. In the case of very large  for
instance, (4) takes the very simple form

Y =  (Ln(1x))/x (7)

where x = [1r((1)1] and Y = (1r)F/2. In Figure 2 . Permeability Coefficient vs Osmotic


definition interval x  [0,1], Y is monotonically Pressure Difference.
increasing from 1 to + , and normalized delivered 4. Conclusion
power <W> = Kx2, with K = [1r((1)1]2, From analysis of equations representing osmotic
varies monotonically between 0 and K, showing that physical phenomenon, it is shown that in Pressure
larger <W> corresponds to larger x. More generally Retarded Osmosis case, the harnessing of
salinity-gradient energy taking place at the
parametric dependence of power output W can be
interface between waters of different salt
obtained from (6) to get best parameter range. When
concentration could provide an interesting and
returning to dimensional expression, W is upper
almost inexhaustible energy source if systems
bounded by Wsup = KA(RTCd)2, and a necessary coefficients satisfy operating conditions which
condition for economic efficiency is that have been explicitly stated within Spiegler-
Kedem model. However, even in optimum mode
W sup = KA(RTCd)2 ≥ Wcrit (8)
operating case, satisfaction of economic
viability condition expressed by fixed specific
where Wcrit is the threshold value above which the
membrane power output Wthres  5 Wm 2 is not
osmotic plant is viable. Wsup is larger with larger draw
always met. Aside theoretical research on
concentration Cd, larger temperature T and larger A, optimizing system operating mode, this
which has to be determined to satisfy economic weakness is urging further study of membrane
system efficiency demand, ie here A ≥ Acrit = physical properties, such as porosity and
4WcritFor usual figure of delivered power Wd = tortuosity pore length, to design most efficient
5Wm2, and with typical = 12.105Pa for water, one hydraulic permeability of the barrier layer.
gets, for instance, A ≥ Acrit = 1.38 mPa1s1. More
generally the variation of Acrit vs sees Figure 2, Acknowledgments
indicates for  [6.105,20.105] the “efficiency” The authors are very much indebted to ECE Paris
interval A  [4.91012,5.41011] which is still at School of Engineering for having provided the
technical limit today (Straub, et al., 2016; Zhang, and necessary setup for the development of the
Chung, 2013). To cope with these economic operating project, to Drs. S. Mouhali for advices during the
constraints, extension of simple osmotic barrier effect research and Pr. M. Cotsaftis for help in the
have been recently considered (Chou, et al., 2013; preparation of the manuscript.
Chou, et al., 2012; Yip, et al, 2010; Banchik, et al., 2014;
Mc Cutcheon, and Elimelech, 2007; Cath, et al., 2013; References
Chen, et al., 2016; She,, et al., 2016 ; Chou, et al., 2013; Banchik, L.D., Sharqawy, M.H., Lienhard, J.H.
Hickenbottom, et al., 2016; Dechadilok, and Deen, 2006). (2014). Limits of Power Production due to Finite
A coupled system with solar plant will be discussed Membrane Area in Pressure Retarded
elsewhere. Osmosis, J. Membr. Sci., 468, 81-89.
Bræin, S., Sandvik, Ø.S., Skilhagen, S.E. (2010)
.Osmotic Power: from Prototype to Industry–
What Will it Take?, Proc. 3rd Intern. Conf. on
Ocean Energy, ICOE, Bilbao: Spain.
Cath, T. Y., Elimelech, M., McCutcheon, J. R.,
Mcginnis, R. L., Achilli, A., Anastasio, D., Brady,
A. R., Childress, A. E., Farr, I. V., Hancock, N. T.,

A. Berger1, A. Lebrun, S. Khan, Q. Masson-Pilet, A. Supizet 51


JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS, 1(3), 49-53 / 2017

Lampi, J., Nghiem, L. D., Xie, M. & Yip, N. Yin. Edenhofer, O., Pichs-Madruga, R., Sokona,
(2013). Standard methodology for evaluating Y., Seyboth, K., Matschoss, P., Kadner, S.,
membrane performance in osmotically driven Zwickel, T., Eickemeier, P., Hansen, G.,
membrane processes. Desalination, 312 Schlömer, S., Stechow C. (Eds.). IPCC Special
(N/A), 31-38. Report on Renewable Energy Sources and
Chen, Y., Setiawan, L., Chou, S., Hu, X., Wang, R. Climate Change Mitigation. Cambridge and
(2016). Identification of Safe and Stable New York, UK &USA: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Operation Conditions for Pressure Retarded Lewis, A., Estefen, S., Huckerby, J., Musial, W.,
Osmosis with High-Performance Hollow Fiber Pontes, T., Torres-Martinez, J. (2011). Ocean
Membrane, J. Memb. Sci., 503, pp.90-100. Energy, in: Edenhofer, O., Pichs-Madruga, R.,
Chou, S., Wang, R., Fane, A.G. (2013). Robust Sokona, Y., Seyboth, K., Matschoss, P.,
and High-Performance Hollow Fiber Kadner, S., Zwickel, T., Eickemeier, P.,
Membranes for Energy Harvesting from Salinity Hansen, G., Schlömer, S., Stechow C. (Eds.).
Gradients by Pressure Retarded Osmosis. J. IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy
Memb. Sci., 448, 44-54. Sources and Climate Change Mitigation.
Chou, S., Wang, R., Shi, L., She, Q., Tang, C., Cambridge and New York, UK & USA:
Fane, A.G. (2012) .Thin-film Composite Hollow Cambridge Univ. Press.
Fiber Membranes for Pressure Retarded Lin, S.H., Straub, A.P., Elimelech, M. (2014).
Osmosis (PRO) Process with High Power Thermodynamic Limits of Extractable Energy
Density, J Membrane Sci,, 389, 25-33. by Pressure Retarded Osmosis, Energy Environ.
Dechadilok, P., Deen, W.M. (2006). Hindrance Sci., 7, pp.2706-2714.
Factors for Diffusion and Convection in Pores, Loeb, S. (1975). Osmotic Power Plants, Science,
Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 45, 6953–6959. 189, 654-655.
Dinger, F., Troendle, T., Platt, U. (2012) . Osmotic Mc Cutcheon, J.R., Elimelech, M.A. (2007) .
Power Plants, 3rd Osmosis Membrane Summit, Modeling Water Flux in Forward Osmosis:
Statkraft, Barcelona: Spain Implications for Improved Membrane Design,
Helfer, F., Sahin, O., Lemckert, C., Anissimov, Y. AIChE J., 53, 1736-1744.
(2013). Salinity Gradient Energy: a New Source Mishra A. (2013). Osmotic Power–Huge Source of
of Renewable Energy for Australia. Proc. Renewable Energy, Int J Sci Eng Res, 4, 1-6.
Intern. Conf. of the European Water Post, J.W. (2009) . Blue Energy: Electricity
Resources Association (EWRA), Porto: Production from Salinity Gradients by Reverse
Portugal. Electro-dialysis, PhD thesis, Sub-dept of
Helfer, F., Lemckert, C., Anissimov, Y.G. (2014) . Environmental Technology, Wageningen
Osmotic Power with Pressure Retarded University, Wageningen: Netherlands.
Osmosis: Theory, Performance, and Trends, J. She, Q., Wei, J., Ma, N., Sim, V., Fane, A. Rong,
Membranes Science, 453, 337-358. G., Wang, R., Tang, C.Y. (2016). Fabrication
Hickenbottom, K.L., Vanneste, J., Elimelech, and Characterization of Fabric-reinforced
M.A., Cath, T.Y. (2016). Assessing the Current Pressure Retarded Osmosis Membranes for
State of Commercially Available Membranes Osmotic Power Harvesting, J. Memb. Sci., 504,
and Spacers for Energy Production with 75-88.
Pressure Retarded Osmosis, Desalination, 389, Skilhagen, S.E., Dugstad, J.E., Aaberg R.J. (2012).
108-118. Osmotic Power - Power Production Based on
Kho, J. (2010) .Osmotic Power: A Primer. San the Osmotic Pressure Difference between
Francisco, USA: Kachan & Co. Waters with Varying Salt Gradients,
Kim, Y.C., Elimelech, M. (2013). Potential of Desalination, 220, 476-482.
Osmotic Power Generation by Pressure Skilhagen, S.E., Aaberg R.J. (2006) . Power
Retarded Osmosis Using Seawater as Feed Production Based on the Osmotic Pressure
Solution: Analysis and Experiments, J Difference between Fresh Water and Sea
Membrane Sci, 429, 330-337 Water, European Seminar on Offshore Wind
Kleiterp, R. (2012). The Feasibility of a and Other Marine Renewable Energies in
Commercial Osmotic Power Plant, Master Mediterranean and European Seas
Thesis, Dept of Hydraulic Engineering, Delft (Owemes), Owemes, Citavecchia: Italy.
University of Technology, Delft:Netherlands. Straub, A.P., Deshmukh, A., Elimelech, M. (2016).
Kumar, A., Schei, T., Ahenkorah, A., Rodriguez, Pressure-retarded Osmosis for Power
R.C., Devernay, J.M., Freitas, M., Hall, D., Generation from Salinity Gradients: is it
Killingtveit, Å., Liu, Z. (2011). Hydropower, in: Viable? Energy Environ. Sci., 9, 31–48.

A. Berger1, A. Lebrun, S. Khan, Q. Masson-Pilet, A. Supizet 52


JOURNAL OF CONTEMPORARY URBAN AFFAIRS, 1(3), 49-53 / 2017

Spiegler, K.S., Kedem, O. (1966): film Composite forward Osmosis Membranes,


Thermodynamics of Hyper-filtration (Reverse Environ Sci Technol, 44, 3812-3818.
Osmosis): Criteria for Efficient Membranes,
Desalination, And 1,311-326. Yip, N.Y., Elimelech, M. (2012). Thermodynamic
The Salinity Project Group, The Salinity Power and Energy Efficiency Analysis of Power
Project: Power Production from the Osmotic Generation from Natural Salinity Gradients by
Pressure Difference between Fresh Water and Pressure Retarded Osmosis, Environ. Sci.
Sea Water - Final Report, (2004). The European Technol., 46, 5230-5239.
Commission, Bruxelles, Lisbon. Yip, N.Y., Elimelech, M. (2011). Performance
Wang, R., Tang, C., Fane, A.G. (2012). Limiting Effects in Power Generation from
Development of Pressure Retarded Osmosis Salinity Gradients by Pressure Retarded
(PRO) Membranes with High Power Density for Osmosis, Environ Sci Technol, 45, 10273-10282.
Osmotic Power Harvesting, in: 3rd Osmosis Zhang, S., Chung, T.S. (2013). Minimizing the
Membrane Summit, Statkraft, and Barcelona: Instant and Accumulative Effects of Salt
Spain. Permeability to Sustain Ultrahigh Osmotic
Yip, N.Y., Tiraferri, A., Phillip, W.A., Schiffman, J.D., Power Density, Environ. Sci. Technol., 47,
Elimelech, M. (2010) . High-Performance Thin- 10085-10092.

A. Berger1, A. Lebrun, S. Khan, Q. Masson-Pilet, A. Supizet 53