Use of Reverse Electrodialysis to Harvest Salinity Gradient Energy from Oilfield Produced Water

Document Type : Original Research Paper


Environment and Water Directorate, Ministry of Science and Technology, Baghdad, Iraq


Two lab-scale electrodialysis (RED) stacks with different intermembrane spacing were used in this study. Each stack consists of two membrane pairs. Thick intermembrane spacing stack was made of four identical plexiglass sections, with outer dimensions 5 cm * 5 cm * 1.5 cm and an inner cross-section of 3 cm diameter each to construct two diluted solution compartments and two concentrated solution compartments. For the thin intermembrane spacing configuration, four rubber spacers with a thickness of 1 mm and an inner opening of 3 cm each were used instead of these sections. Two copper sheets were used as anode and cathode electrodes. Different solutions with NaCl concentrations of 15,000, 30,000 and 200,000 mg/l were used as a concentrated solution and different solutions with relatively low NaCl concentrations of 25, 1000 and 3600 mg/l were used as a diluted solution. A 30,000 mg/l NaCl solution was used as a diluted solution when the concentrated stream was with NaCl concentration of 200,000 mg/l. The electrode solution was of 15,000 mg/l (~0.25 M) NaCl and 8,000 mg/l (~0.05 M) CuSO4.5H2O. The results of this study confirmed the validity of using RED technology to harvest energy from salinity gradient using saline and freshwater available abundantly particularly in Iraq. An experiment on a synthetic hypersaline oil field co-produced water as a concentrated stream and seawater as a diluted stream showed that the system performance is reproducible and stable. A maximum power density of 0.029 W/m2 could be harvested.


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