Long-Term Treatment of Highly Saline Brine in a Direct Contact Membrane Distillation (DCMD) Pilot Unit Using Polyethylene Membranes
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Membrane distillation (MD) is an attractive separation process for wastewater treatment and desalination. There are continuing challenges in implementing MD technologies at a large industrial scale. This work attempts to investigate the desalination performance of a pilot-scale direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) system using synthetic thermal brine mimicking industrial wastewater in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). A commercial polyethylene membrane was used in all tests in the DCMD pilot unit. Long-term performance exhibited up to 95.6% salt rejection rates using highly saline feed (75,500 ppm) and 98% using moderate saline feed (25,200 ppm). The results include the characterization of the membrane surface evolution during the tests, the fouling determination, and the assessment of the energy consumption. The fouling effect of the polyethylene membrane was studied using Humic acid (HA) as the feed for the whole DCMD pilot unit. An optimum specific thermal energy consumption (STEC) reduction of 10% was achieved with a high flux recovery ratio of 95% after 100 h of DCMD pilot operation. At fixed operating conditions for feed inlet temperature of 70 °C, a distillate inlet temperature of 20 °C, with flowrates of 70 l/h for both streams, the correlations were as high as 0.919 between the pure water flux and water contact angle, and 0.963 between the pure water flux and salt rejection, respectively. The current pilot unit study provides better insight into existing thermal desalination plants with an emphasis on specific energy consumption (SEC). The results of this study may pave the way for the commercialization of such filtration technology at a larger scale in global communities.
- Center for Advanced Materials Research [1005 items ]
- Chemical Engineering [926 items ]
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