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New Membrane Distillation Process for Sustainable Desalination

Technology Overview

The technology is a thermal membrane-based process consisting of membrane modules installed in series. Operating at low temperature, this new set up enables the use of any renewable heat source such as solar, low-grade waste heat and low-enthalpy geothermal. The system is functional at atmospheric pressure, which further reduces the operational cost. Also, the salinity of the feed water does not have much effect on the performance allowing operation at very high recovery rates.

Technology Features & Specifications

This technology provides a new design of membrane modules that enhance water production processes. Hydrophobic microporous membrane is used as a contactor between two liquid mediums. The difference in temperature at the two sides of the membrane creates vapor pressure difference which drives the vapor from the hot side to the cold one. Having 5 °C temperature difference between the two liquid mediums is sufficient to achieve the separation. Once the water vapor reaches the cold side, the pure water will condense. The modules operate at low temperature in the range of 50 to 80°C. Consequently, renewable energy, such as solar, low-enthalpy geothermal and any kind of low-grade waste heat.

Potential Applications

This MD technology can be applied to any water desalination or reclamation process, such as:

  • Seawater desalination plant
  • Thermal brines concentration and 
  • Low temperature juice concentration
  • Hot springs and geothermal sources
  • Standalone units for remote areas for any impaired water quality treatment
  • Produced water treatment technology
  • Hot industrial wastewater treatment processes

Customer Benefits

  • Higher thermal efficiency through more efficient heat recovery system
  • Operate at low pressure
  • Sustainable, allowing the use of solar, low-grade waste-heat, low-enthalpy geothermal resources
  • About 50% less cost than conventional technology
  • All parts are made of plastic based materials, with no corrosion problems such as experienced in conventional technology
  • Low investment cost, with low-cost polymeric materials for the membrane and module fabrication
  • Scalable, modular and compact
  • Low carbon foot print

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