IWA Publishing

Recycling of coal seam gas-associated water using vacuum membrane distillation


Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Coal seam gas-associated water (CSGAW), which is a by-product of coal seam gas (CSG) production typically contains significant amounts of salts and has potential environmental issues. In this study, we optimized a bench-scale vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) process with flat-sheet hydrophobic polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membranes for the treatment of synthetic CSGAW (conductivity = 15 mS/cm). To study performance of the VMD process, we explored the effects of feed temperature (Tf = 60, 70, and 80°C), feed flow rate (Vf = 60, 120, and 240 mL/min), and vacuum pressure (Pv = 3, 6, and 9 kPa) on water permeability through the PTFE membrane in the VMD process. Under the optimum conditions (i.e. Tf = 80°C, Vf = 240 mL/min, Pv = 3 kPa), water permeability and rejection efficiency of salts by the VMD process were found to be 5.5 L/m2/h (LMH) and 99.9%, respectively, after 2 h filtration. However, after 8 h operation, the water permeability decreased by 70% compared with the initial flux due to the formation of fouling layer of calcium, chloride, sodium, magnesium, and potassium on the membrane surface.

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