Reverse Electrodialysis Process with Seawater and Concentrated Brines: a COMSOL Multiphysics® Model for Equipment Design

M. Tedesco[1], A. Cipollina[1], C. Scavuzzo[1], A. Tamburini[1], G. Micale[1]
[1]Dipartimento di Ingegneria Chimica, Gestionale, Informatica, Meccanica (DICGIM), Università di Palermo (UNIPA), Palermo, Italy

Salinity Gradient Power (SGP) is a promising renewable energy source associated to the controlled mixing of two aqueous solutions of different salinities. Recently, Reverse Electrodialysis process (SGP-RE, or RED) has been identified as a successful way for the exploitation of such energy source, allowing the conversion of SGP directly into electric energy. COMSOL Multiphysics® modelling activities have started focusing on the transport phenomena through membranes, assuming a laminar flow regime inside empty channels and describing the salt flux as transport of diluted electrolyte solutions. In spite of its simplifying approach, the developed COMSOL Multiphysics® model can simulate correctly all the main phenomena involved in the process, e.g. giving the trend of both concentration and voltage profiles inside the system.