Submerged membrane distillation for seawater desalination

L. Francis, N. Ghaffour, A. Al-Saadi, G.L. Amy
Desalination and Water Treatment, volume 55, issue 10, (2014)

Submerged membrane distillation for seawater desalination


Submerged membrane distillation (SMD), Seawater desalination, Wastewater treatment, Partial water vapor pressure


​A submerged membrane distillation (SMD) process for fresh water production from Red Sea water using commercially available hollow fiber membranes has been successfully employed and compared with the conventional direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) process. The hollow fiber membranes have been characterized for its morphology using field effect scanning electron microscope. In SMD process, a bunch of hollow fiber membranes are glued together at both ends to get a simplified open membrane module assembly submerged into the coolant tank equipped with a mechanical stirrer. Hot feed stream is allowed to pass through the lumen side of the membrane using a feed pump. Continuous stirring at the coolant side will reduce the temperature and concentration polarization. During the conventional DCMD process, using feed-coolant streams with co-current and counter-current flows has been tested and the results are compared in this study. In SMD process, a water vapor flux of 10.2 kg m−2 h−1 is achieved when using a feed inlet temperature of 80°C and coolant temperature of 20°C. Under the same conditions, during conventional DCMD process, a water vapor flux of 11.6 and 10.1 kg m−2 h−1 were observed during counter-current and co-current flow streams, respectively. Results show that the water production in the SMD process is comparable with the conventional DCMD process, while the feed-coolant flow streams are in the co-current direction. During conventional DCMD operation, a 15% increase in the water production is observed when feed-coolant streams are in the counter-current direction compared to the co-current direction.


DOI: 10.1080/19443994.2014.946716


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