Hybrid Pressure Retarded Osmosis−Membrane Distillation (PRO−MD) Process for Osmotic Power and Clean Water Generation

Gang Han, Jian Zuo, Chunfeng Wan, Neal Tai-Shung Chung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


A novel pressure retarded osmosis−membrane distillation (PRO−MD) hybrid process has been experimentally conceived for sustainable production of renewable osmotic power and clean water from various waters. The proposed PRO−MD system may possess unique advantages of high water recovery rate, huge osmotic power generation, well controlled membrane fouling, and minimal environmental impacts. Experimental results show that the PRO−MD hybrid process is promising that not only can harvest osmotic energy from freshwater but also from wastewater. When employing a 2 M NaCl MD concentrate as the draw solution, ultrahigh power densities of 31.0 W/m2 and 9.3 W/m2 have been demonstrated by the PRO subsystem using deionized water and real wastewater brine as the feeds, respectively. Simultaneously, high purity potable water with a flux of 32.5−63.1 L/(m2.h) can be produced by the MD subsystem at 40−60 °C without any detrimental effects of fouling. The energy consumption in the MD subsystem might be further reduced by applying a heat exchanger in the hybrid system and using low-grade heat or solar energy to heat up the feed solution. The newly developed PRO−MD hybrid process would provide insightful guidelines for the exploration of alternative green technologies for renewable osmotic energy and clean water production.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-515
Number of pages9
JournalEnviron. Sci.: Water Res. Technol.
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

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KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01


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