Thermal associated pressure-retarded osmosis processes for energy production: A review

Sigurður John Einarsson, Bing Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change is an existential threat to global environments and human life. To achieve global mean temperature rise of below 1.5 °C, increasing utilization of renewable energy and minimizing CO₂ emission from fossil fuel industries have been emphasized by the United Nations. Pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO) has displayed its technical feasibility in capturing renewable energy from the salinity gradient of two streams through a semipermeable membrane. Towards achieving economic feasible PRO, process optimization, waste stream/heat utilization, and hybrid PRO processes have been attempted by theoretically modelling and experimental examination. Among these efforts, the thermal associated PRO processes have received great attention due to their improved power generation. In this paper, we aim to provide a comprehensive review on thermal associated PRO processes, focusing on the role of thermal behaviour in both stand-alone PRO and hybrid PRO processes (e.g. PRO-membrane distillation, PRO-thermosiphon, PRO-solar pond). Meanwhile, thermal associated draw solution development has been highlighted. Finally, a combination of PRO with high temperature/high pressure geothermal waste gas as draw solution is proposed and its technical and economic feasibility is discussed, especially under Icelandic scenario.

Original languageEnglish
Article number143731
Pages (from-to)143731
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.

Other keywords

  • Draw solution
  • Geothermal gas
  • Pressure-retarded osmosis
  • Renewable energy
  • Thermal effect


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