Improvement of a Simplified Model of Water Treatment by Electrodialysis

Project: Research

Project Details


With a significant percentage of humanity facing potable water shortage or a complete lack thereof as well as a growing population, an increased demand for drinking water is anticipated. The need for water, in general, is further exacerbated due to growing agricultural and industrial needs. With 97% of the planets water unfit for these purposes and natural resources unable to meet the demand, desalination provides a solution. One of the technologies used is electrodialysis/electrodialysis reversal (ED/EDR). It is a process that removes ionized salts from water by ion migration, through anion and cation exchange permselective membranes, under the effect of a DC electric current. Anion and cation exchange membranes are placed alternately in the salt solution. Therefore, when an electric current is passed through it, the positively charges ions move towards the cation exchange membrane and pass through it but will be stopped by the next membrane. Similarly, the negatively charged ions, move towards the anion exchange membranes and pass through it but are prevented from passing through the next membrane. The net result of this are two types of alternating compartments: diluate compartments that lose ions and concentrate compartments that gain ions. Conventional ED has been used for various applications. This includes treating brackish and sea water, production of salt, treating industrial effluents and demineralization of boiler feed as well as food products. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of the largest consumers as well as producers of desalinated water. Typically, the systems employed are large and energy intensive resulting in the consumption of large amounts of fuel. Electrodialysis requires lesser energy when dealing with lower salinity applications. And with the industrial applications mentioned above, all issues related to ED are of importance. The proposed project, details of which are given below, aims to improve our ability to model and design ED systems more easily. Thus, helping to make the Kingdom a hub of knowledge and establishing the use of ED here. In the proposed study, the modelling of ED/EDR systems will be improved by incorporating details such as diffusion into a simplified model. For this purpose, Engineering Equation Solver (EES) will be used as it contains the required thermodynamic properties. Also, for high salinity applications and simulation of the process in detail, FLUENT will be used. For this purpose, the following five specific tasks will be performed: i) state-of-the-art literature review on existing ED models, ii) detailed CFD modelling of ED, iii) sensitivity analysis aimed at characterizing important design/performance parameters, iv) development of a simplified model that is easy to implement, and v) investigate non-dimensional parameters controlling the process.
Effective start/end date15/04/1815/12/19


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