AbstractThe energy consumption for a novel desalination approach using charged hydrogels under externally applied pressure is experimentally measured and calculated. The salt separation is based on a partial rejection of mobile salt ions caused by the fixed charges inside the polyelectrolyte network. Self‐synthesized and commercial poly(acrylic acid) hydrogels are used to study the desalination performance in reference to sodium chloride solutions within the concentration range of 0.1–35 g L−1. The influence of various synthetic parameters, such as the degree of crosslinking (DC) and the size and shape of the particles, is investigated. Furthermore, the effect of process parameters including the amount of the feed solution, the applied pressure profile, and the swelling time of the hydrogel is discussed. The best energy estimation found so far, is 8.9 kWh m−3 fresh water if a poly(acrylic acid) with a DC of 5 mol% is used in an infinite large salt bath.

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