Enver Güler wins ‘Best PhD paper of the year’ award of the Twente Water Centre

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During the 2014 Twente Water Week 2014 Enver Güler is awarded for his paper ‘Micro-structured membranes for electricity generation by reverse electrodialysis’ in the Journal of Membrane Science. A jury of the Twente Water Centre (TWC) chose the winning paper among five nominated papers.

Reverse electrodialysis (RED) is a clean, sustainable, potentially attractive technology for the generation of energy from the mixing of solutions with different salinity. It utilizes the free energy of mixing these solutions (e.g. river water and seawater) to generate power. In RED, a concentrated salt solution and a less concentrated salt solution are brought into contact through ion selective membranes (anion exchange membranes, AEMs, and cation exchange membranes, CEMs) that are alternately patterned in a stack. Anion exchange membranes allow only anions to pass through towards an anode and cation exchange membranes allow only cations to pass through towards a cathode.

In the awarded paper, Enver Güler describes a simple, versatile method to prepare so called microstructured membranes: membranes with various structures (ridges, pillars, waves) of the surface. These structures mitigate the water and induce mixing, consequently increasing mass transport. Traditionally, standard, non-conductive spacers are used to separate the membranes in the stack. This induces a high resistance due to the non-conductive character of the spacers. The structures on the membranes developed by Enver Güler are made of the same ion exchange materials as the membrane. Consequently, their resistance is much lower than when standard non-conductive spacers are applied, resulting in increased power outputs. Especially the pillar-structured membranes exhibited a more uniform flow distribution compared to the other types. 21% lower ohmic resistance was obtained resulting in 38% higher gross power density and 20% higher net power density for the pillared structures compared to the flat membranes with spacers.

Enver was a former PhD candidate of MST and graduated last January 2014. He is now working in Wetsus (Leeuwarden, NL) as post-doctoral researcher.

The Twente Water Centre (TWC) of the University of Twente is a centre of expertise in the area of water systems and governance. The Centre is unique in bringing together and balancing the natural and social sciences. The Twente Water Centre offers an interdisciplinary platform to researchers, students and society. The aim is to span the boundaries of individual expertise of scholars and their disciplinary research departments. Among the research themes are the understanding of the physical processes in water systems, human interference, uncertainty, risks, governance of water challenges and water resource management. Next to research on urgent water challenges, the Twente Water Centre also denotes water curricula and facilitates valorization activities.

For more information, please contact Prof. Kitty Nijmeijer (d.c.nijmeijer@utwente.nl).