The Influence of Concentration and Temperature on the Membrane Resistance of Ion Exchange Membranes and the Levelised Cost of Hydrogen from Reverse Electrodialysis with Ammonium Bicarbonate

Membranes (Basel). 2021 Feb 16;11(2):135. doi: 10.3390/membranes11020135.


The ohmic resistances of the anion and cation ion-exchange membranes (IEMs) that constitute a reverse electrodialysis system (RED) are of crucial importance for its performance. In this work, we study the influence of concentration (0.1 M, 0.5 M, 1 M and 2 M) of ammonium bicarbonate solutions on the ohmic resistances of ten commercial IEMs. We also studied the ohmic resistance at elevated temperature 313 K. Measurements have been performed with a direct two-electrode electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) method. As the ohmic resistance of the IEMs depends linearly on the membrane thickness, we measured the impedance for three different layered thicknesses, and the results were normalised. To gauge the role of the membrane resistances in the use of RED for production of hydrogen by use of waste heat, we used a thermodynamic and an economic model to study the impact of the ohmic resistance of the IEMs on hydrogen production rate, waste heat required, thermochemical conversion efficiency and the levelised cost of hydrogen. The highest performance was achieved with a stack made of FAS30 and CSO Type IEMs, producing hydrogen at 8.48× 10-7 kg mmem-2s-1 with a waste heat requirement of 344 kWh kg-1 hydrogen. This yielded an operating efficiency of 9.7% and a levelised cost of 7.80 € kgH2-1.

Keywords: ammonium bicarbonate; anion-exchange membrane; cation-exchange membrane; hydrogen production; ion-exchange membrane; low-grade waste heat to hydrogen; membrane resistance; membrane resistivity; reverse electrodialysis (RED).