Energy evaluation and treatment efficiency of vacuum membrane distillation for brackish water desalination

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Strict environmental regulations have led to the rapid development of membrane separation technologies for the production of potable water, for industrial water supply, and for the reuse and discharge of treated wastewater. Promotion of water recycling and the provision of potable water from brackish water prevent significant negative effects on the environment and drinking water supplies. This study is intended to describe and compare a sustainable technology for brackish water treatment. Among the four configurations of the membrane distillation process, vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) produces higher flux and results in a low fouling rate. It comprises evaporation and condensation that mimics what occurs in nature. Mathematical models proposed for the VMD transport mechanisms are incorporated to predict the actual experimental flux. The response of the flux rate to various process operating parameters is demonstrated. Variation of effective parameters is investigated in terms of energy consumption. The data indicate that the permeate flux is highly responsive to the variation of pressure and temperature. VMD enables the removal of 99.9% of total dissolved solids from natural and contaminated water sources. The findings are that the quality of the permeate water from all sources was at acceptable standards for potable use.

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