Reverse electrodialysis technology has grown significantly in the last decade, gaining a fast increase in its technology readiness level and presenting some interesting examples of pilot systems operating under very different real environments. Among these, one was able to operate in a saltwork in Marsala (Sicily, Italy) with real concentrated brine and real saline waters (i.e., either seawater or brackish water), producing electric power in the order of 1 kW. This pilot plant was one of the main achievements of the European REAPower research project. This chapter presents an overview of the main research efforts and results achieved in the framework of this project starting from the project idea and fundamentals up to the testing of the realized pilot plant.
During this description, special attention is devoted to the mathematical modeling of the RED unit, which required a multiscale approach ranging from fluid-dynamic aspects (lowest scale) to the plant level (highest scale) where three prototypes were connected to each other. In the last part of the chapter, the first prototype commissioning, scale-up, and testing are presented.