|Commenced in January 2007||Frequency: Monthly||Edition: International||Paper Count: 8|
Desalination using solar energy coupled with membrane techniques such as vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) is considered as an interesting alternative for the production of pure water. During this work, a developed model of a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) hollow fiber membrane module of a VMD unit of seawater was carried out. This simulation leads to establishing a comparison between the effects of two different equations of the vaporization latent heat on the membrane surface temperature and on the unit productivity. Besides, in order to study the effect of putting membrane modules in series on the outlet fluid temperature and on the productivity of the process, a simulation was executed.
Qatar’s primary source of fresh water is through seawater desalination. Amongst the major processes that are commercially available on the market, the most common large scale techniques are Multi-Stage Flash distillation (MSF), Multi Effect distillation (MED), and Reverse Osmosis (RO). Although commonly used, these three processes are highly expensive down to high energy input requirements and high operating costs allied with maintenance and stress induced on the systems in harsh alkaline media. Beside that cost, environmental footprint of these desalination techniques are significant; from damaging marine eco-system, to huge land use, to discharge of tons of GHG and huge carbon footprint. Other less energy consuming techniques based on membrane separation are being sought to reduce both the carbon footprint and operating costs is membrane distillation (MD). Emerged in 1960s, MD is an alternative technology for water desalination attracting more attention since 1980s. MD process involves the evaporation of a hot feed, typically below boiling point of brine at standard conditions, by creating a water vapor pressure difference across the porous, hydrophobic membrane. Main advantages of MD compared to other commercially available technologies (MSF and MED) and specially RO are reduction of membrane and module stress due to absence of trans-membrane pressure, less impact of contaminant fouling on distillate due to transfer of only water vapor, utilization of low grade or waste heat from oil and gas industries to heat up the feed up to required temperature difference across the membrane, superior water quality, and relatively lower capital and operating cost. To achieve the objective of this study, state of the art flat-sheet cross-flow DCMD bench scale unit was designed, commissioned, and tested. The objective of this study is to analyze the characteristics and morphology of the membrane suitable for DCMD through SEM imaging and contact angle measurement and to study the water quality of distillate produced by DCMD bench scale unit. Comparison with available literature data is undertaken where appropriate and laboratory data is used to compare a DCMD distillate quality with that of other desalination techniques and standards. Membrane SEM analysis showed that the PTFE membrane used for the study has contact angle of 127º with highly porous surface supported with less porous and bigger pore size PP membrane. Study on the effect of feed solution (salinity) and temperature on water quality of distillate produced from ICP and IC analysis showed that with any salinity and different feed temperature (up to 70ºC) the electric conductivity of distillate is less than 5 μS/cm with 99.99% salt rejection and proved to be feasible and effective process capable of consistently producing high quality distillate from very high feed salinity solution (i.e. 100000 mg/L TDS) even with substantial quality difference compared to other desalination methods such as RO and MSF.
This paper presents a complete dynamic modeling of a membrane distillation process. The model contains two consistent dynamic models. A 2D advection-diffusion equation for modeling the whole process and a modified heat equation for modeling the membrane itself. The complete model describes the temperature diffusion phenomenon across the feed, membrane, permeate containers and boundary layers of the membrane. It gives an online and complete temperature profile for each point in the domain. It explains heat conduction and convection mechanisms that take place inside the process in terms of mathematical parameters, and justify process behavior during transient and steady state phases. The process is monitored for any sudden change in the performance at any instance of time. In addition, it assists maintaining production rates as desired, and gives recommendations during membrane fabrication stages. System performance and parameters can be optimized and controlled using this complete dynamic model. Evolution of membrane boundary temperature with time, vapor mass transfer along the process, and temperature difference between membrane boundary layers are depicted and included. Simulations were performed over the complete model with real membrane specifications. The plots show consistency between 2D advection-diffusion model and the expected behavior of the systems as well as literature. Evolution of heat inside the membrane starting from transient response till reaching steady state response for fixed and varying times is illustrated.
Membrane distillation is an emerging technology which has been used to produce freshwater and purify different types of aqueous mixtures. Qatar is an arid country where almost 100% of its freshwater demand is supplied through the energy-intensive thermal desalination process. The country’s need for water has reached an all-time high which stipulates finding an alternative way to augment freshwater without adding any drastic affect to the environment. The objective of this paper was to investigate the potential of using the industrial low grade waste heat to produce freshwater using membrane distillation. The main part of this work was conducting a heat audit on selected Qatari chemical industries to estimate the amounts of freshwater produced if such industrial waste heat were to be recovered. By the end of this work, the main objective was met and the heat audit conducted on the Qatari chemical industries enabled us to estimate both the amounts of waste heat which can be potentially recovered in addition to the amounts of freshwater which can be produced if such waste heat were to be recovered.
By the end, the heat audit showed that around 605 Mega Watts of waste heat can be recovered from the studied Qatari chemical industries which resulted in a total daily production of 5078.7 cubic meter of freshwater.
This water can be used in a wide variety of applications such as human consumption or industry. The amount of produced freshwater may look small when compared to that produced through thermal desalination plants; however, one must bear in mind that this water comes from waste and can be used to supply water for small cities or remote areas which are not connected to the water grid. The idea of producing freshwater from the two widely-available wastes (thermal rejected brine and waste heat) seems promising as less environmental and economic impacts will be associated with freshwater production which may in the near future augment the conventional way of producing freshwater currently being thermal desalination. This work has shown that low grade waste heat in the chemical industries in Qatar and perhaps the rest of the world can contribute to additional production of freshwater using membrane distillation without significantly adding to the environmental impact.
Seawater desalination has been accepted as one of the most effective solutions to the growing problem of a diminishing clean drinking water supply. Currently two desalination technologies dominate the market – the thermally driven multi-stage flash distillation (MSF) and the membrane based reverse osmosis (RO). However, in recent years membrane distillation (MD) has emerged as a potential alternative to the established means of desalination. This research project intended to determine the viability of MD as an alternative process to MSF and RO for seawater desalination. Specifically the project involves conducting thermodynamic analysis of the process based on the second law of thermodynamics to determine the efficiency of the MD. Data was obtained from experiments carried out on a laboratory rig. To determine exergy values required for the exergy analysis, two separate models were built in Engineering Equation Solver – the ’Minimum Separation Work Model’ and the ‘Stream Exergy Model’. The efficiency of MD process was found to be 17.3 % and the energy consumption was determined to be 4.5 kWh to produce one cubic meter of fresh water. The results indicate MD has potential as a technique for seawater desalination compared to RO and MSF. However it was shown that this was only the case if an alternate energy source such as green or waste energy was available to provide the thermal energy input to the process. If the process was required to power itself, it was shown to be highly inefficient and in no way thermodynamically viable as a commercial desalination process.