Abstract A new hierarchical model for the electrodialysis (ED) process is presented. The model has been implemented into gPROMs Modelbuilder (PSE), allowing the development of a distributed-parameters simulation tool that combines the effectiveness of a semi-empirical modelling approach to the flexibility of a layered arrangement of modelling scales. Thanks to its structure, the tool makes possible the simulation of many different and complex layouts, requiring only membrane properties as input parameters (e.g. membrane resistance or salt and water permeability). The model has been validated against original experimental data obtained from a lab scale ED test rig. Simulation results concerning a 4-stage treatment of seawater and dynamic batch operations of brackish water desalination are presented, showing how the model can be effectively used for predictive purposes and for providing useful insights on design and optimisation.

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