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Membrane distillation against a pressure difference

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Author: Keulen, L. · Ham, L.V. van der · Kuipers, N.J.M. · Hanemaaijer, J.H. · Vlugt, T.J.H. · Kjelstrup, S.
Type:article
Date:2017
Source:Journal of Membrane Science, 524, 151-162
Identifier: 575113
doi: doi:10.1016/j.memsci.2016.10.054
Keywords: Nutrition · Heat and mass transfer · Irreversible thermodynamics · Membrane distillation · MemPower · Water desalination · Desalination · Distillation · Heat resistance · Heat transfer · Mass transfer · Thermodynamics · Water filtration · Heat and mass transfer · Irreversible thermodynamics · Membrane distillation · MemPower · Water desalination · Membranes · Food and Nutrition · Healthy Living · Life · FI - Functional Ingredients · ELSS - Earth, Life and Social Sciences

Abstract

Membrane distillation is an attractive technology for production of fresh water from seawater. The MemPower® concept, studied in this work, uses available heat (86 °C) to produce pressurized water (2.2 bar and 46 °C) by membrane distillation, which again can be used to power a turbine for co-production of electricity. We develop a non-equilibrium thermodynamic model to accurately describe the transfer at the liquid-membrane interfaces, as well as through the hydrophobic membrane. The model can explain the observed mass flux, and shows that 85% of the energy is dissipated at the membrane-permeate interface. It appears that the system's performance will benefit from a lower interface resistance to heat transfer, in particular at the permeate side of the membrane. The nature of the membrane polymer and the pore diameter may play a role in this context. © 2016 The Authors