Power production in microbial reverse-electrodialysis cells (MRCs) can be limited by the internal resistance of the reverse electrodialysis stack. Typical MRC stacks use non-conductive spacers that block ion transport by the so-called spacer shadow effect. These spacers can be relatively thick compared to the membrane, and thus they increase internal stack resistance due to high solution (ohmic) resistance associated with a thick spacer. New types of patterned anion and cation exchange membranes were developed by casting membranes to create hemispherical protrusions on the membranes, enabling fluid flow between the membranes without the need for a non-conductive spacer. The use of the patterned membrane decreased the MRC stack resistance by ∼22 Ω, resulting in a 38% increase in power density from 2.50 ± 0.04 W m-2 (non-patterned membrane with a non-conductive spacer) to 3.44 ± 0.02 W m-2 (patterned membrane). The COD removal rate, coulombic efficiency, and energy efficiency of the MRC also increased using the patterned membranes compared to the non-patterned membranes. These results demonstrate that these patterned ion exchange membranes can be used to improve performance of an MRC. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-I1-003-13
Acknowledgements: We thank Weihua He for help with the analytical measurements. This work was supported by Award KUS-I1-003-13 from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment, Harbin Institute of Technology (Grant No. 2013DX08), the National Natural Science Foundation of China for Distinguished Young Scholars (51125033), National Funds for Creative Research Group of China (Grant No. 51121062) and Science and Technology Cooperation Project Between the Government of Canada and China (2011DFG96630).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.