Research program title
Converting low-grade heat waste and wastewater effluents to electricity via membrane technologies
A large amount of energy exists in the form of low-grade heat (LGH) from sources below 100 ℃. Waste heat is an abundant example. Despite that, the ability to extract this energy is limited with existing technologies due to both the small temperature difference available and the temporal variability in heat output from sources such as waste heat or solar thermal. Wastewater is another potential source of benefits that is not well exploited. A vast amount of treated waste water is rejected in receiving reservoirs (Seas, rivers, lake, etc.) without being reused. Based on the concept of the water-energy nexus, we propose to study the feasibility of converting LGH waste and wastewater to electricity using two membrane-based processes: Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) and thermo-osmotic energy conversion (TOEC). The project will focus on optimizing these two processes by introducing new working fluids that maximize the extractable energy, based on theoretical analysis and experimental investigations. Also, we aim to fabricate membranes that contribute to overcome the detrimental effects of PRO and TOEC (fouling, salt diffusion, concentration polarization, temperature polarization, etc.). Finally, a techno-economic analysis will be performed to investigate the feasibility of a PRO/TOEC large-scale power plant.
Academic qualifications required
PhD in Chemical Engineering/Material Science and Engineering or related fields with experience in energy and membrane fabrication and characterization.