Tuning water content in polymer dopes to boost the performance of outer-selective thin-film composite (TFC) hollow fiber membranes for osmotic power generation

Zhen Lei Cheng, Xue Li, Yingnan Feng, Chun Feng Wan, Tai-Shung Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

The lack of effective membranes greatly hinders the use of pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) to harvest renewable osmotic energy. In comparison to the flat sheet and inner-selective hollow fiber configurations, the development of outer-selective hollow fiber membranes is much slower although it may be more attractive for real PRO applications. This study demonstrates that tuning the water content in polymer dopes can be an effective means to simultaneously enhance the mechanical robustness and water transport properties, boosting the PRO performance of outer-selective thin-film composite (TFC) hollow fiber membranes. Fundamental properties of polymer dopes with different water content and their influence on the hollow fiber supports as well as resultant TFC membranes were systematically investigated. With a low water content of 2 wt% in the polymer dope, the newly developed TFC membrane not only has the smallest structural parameter, highest toughness, and largest water permeability among all membranes studied but also displays an impressive peak power density of 10.05 W/m2 at 22 bar using 1 M NaCl and DI water as feeds. To our best knowledge, this is the highest power density of outer-selective TFC PRO hollow fiber membranes reported in the literature. Mathematical models predict that approximately 25% performance increase can be further achieved if the external concentration polarization (ECP) effect is minimized. This study may provide useful insights to design high performance outer-selective TFC hollow fiber membranes for osmotic power generation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-107
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Volume524
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 15 2017

Keywords

  • Outer-selective hollow fiber membrane
  • Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO)
  • Thin-film composite (TFC)
  • Water content in polymer dopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation

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