Fractional-submerged membrane distillation crystallizer (F-SMDC) for treatment of high salinity solution

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Desalination, 2018, 440 pp. 59 - 67
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Elsevier B.V. Membrane distillation with crystallization (MDC) is an attractive process for high saline seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) brine treatment. MDC produces additional fresh water while simultaneously recovering valuable resources. This study developed a novel approach of fractional-submerged MDC (F-SMDC) process, in which MD and crystallizer are integrated in a feed tank with a submerged membrane. F-SMDC principle is based on the presence of temperature/concentration gradient (TG/CG) in the feed reactor. The operational conditions at the top portion of the feed reactor (higher temperature and lower feed concentration) was well suited for MD operation, while the bottom portion of the reactor (lower temperature and higher concentration) was favourable for crystal growth. F-SMDC performance with direct contact MD to treat brine and produce sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) crystals using TG/CG showed positive results. The TG/CG approach in F-SMDC enabled to achieve higher water recovery for brine treatment with a volume concentration factor (VCF) of over 3.5 compared to VCF of 2.9 with a conventional S-MDC set-up. Further, the high feed concentration and low temperature at the reactor bottom in F-SMDC enabled the formation of Na2SO4 crystals with narrow crystal size distribution.
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