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Design of a reverse electrodialysis plant for salinity gradient energy extraction in a coastal wastewater treatment plant

Abstract: The chemical potential difference at the discharge points of coastal Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) uncovers the opportunity to harness renewable salinity gradient energy (SGE). This work performs an upscaling assessment of reverse electrodialysis (RED) for SGE harvesting of two selected WWTPs located in Europe, quantified in terms of net present value (NPV). For that purpose, a design tool based on an optimization model formulated as a Generalized Disjunctive Program previously developed by the research group has been applied. The industrial scale-up of SGE-RED has already proven to be technically and economically feasible in the Ierapetra medium-sized plant (Greece), mainly due to a greater volumetric flow and a warmer temperature. At the current price of electricity in Greece and the up-to-date market cost of membranes of 10 EUR/m2, the NPV of an optimized RED plant in Ierapetra would amount to EUR117 thousand operating with 30 RUs in winter and EUR 157 thousand for 32 RUs in summer, harnessing 10.43 kW and 11.96 kW of SGE for the winter and summer seasons, respectively. However, in the Comillas facility (Spain), this could be cost-competitive with conventional alternatives, namely coal or nuclear power, under certain conditions such as lower capital expenses due to affordable membrane commercialization (4 EUR/m2). Bringing the membrane price down to 4 EUR/m2 would place the SGE-RED´s Levelized Cost of Energy in the range of 83 EUR/MWh to 106 EUR/MWh, similar to renewable sources such as solar PV residential rooftops.

 Authorship: Sampedro T., Tristán C., Gómez-Coma L., Fallanza M., Ortiz I., Ibañez R.,

 Fuente: Membranes, 2023, 13(6), 546

 Publisher: MDPI

 Publication date: 24/05/2023

 No. of pages: 14

 Publication type: Article

 DOI: 10.3390/membranes13060546

 ISSN: 2077-0375

 Spanish project: PID2020-115409RB-I00

 European project: info:eu-repo/grantAgreement/EC/LIFE PROGRAMME/LIFE19 ENV%2FES%2F000143/EU/LIFE-3E - Environment-Energy-Economy/LIFE-3E/