The paper entitled Heat to Hydrogen by RED-Reviewing Membranes and Salts for the RED Heat Engine Concept has been published in Membranes.
The Reverse electrodialysis heat engine (REDHE) combines a reverse electrodialysis stack for power generation with a thermal regeneration unit to restore the concentration difference of the salt solutions. Current approaches for converting low-temperature waste heat to electricity with REDHE have not yielded conversion efficiencies and profits that would allow for the industrialization of the technology. Our review explores the concept of Heat-to-Hydrogen with REDHEs and maps crucial developments toward industrialization. We discuss current advances in membrane development that are vital for the breakthrough of the RED Heat Engine. In addition, the choice of salt is a crucial factor that has not received enough attention in the field. Based on ion properties relevant for both the transport through IEMs and the feasibility for regeneration, we pinpoint the most promising salts for use in REDHE, which we find to be KNO3, LiNO3, LiBr and LiCl. To further validate these results and compare the system performance with different salts, there is a demand for a comprehensive thermodynamic model of the REDHE that considers all its units. Guided by such a model, experimental studies can be designed to utilize the most favorable process conditions (e.g., salt solutions).
The main person behind the work has been PhD candidate Pauline Zimmermann, and the figure above shows an illustration of a RED stack to be used as the power unit in the REDHE concept described above.