State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008DE130B
Title: Direct Contact Membrane Distillation of Brackish and Contaminated Water Sources for Sourcing Potable Water
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: At-large
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Treatment, Toxic Substances
Keywords: drinking water, purification technologies, membrane distillation
Principal Investigators: Wong, Edwin; Dentel, Steven K (University of Delaware)
Federal Funds: $ 1,750
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 3,500
Abstract: Over the last two decades, the use of membranes has become prevalent for high-purity water applications in industrial and municipal wastewater treatment applications, especially in recirculating feed reuse and environmental discharge purposes. However, their use as an alternative technology in the purification for drinking water, especially desalination, has proved increasingly popular as potable water resources have become more scarce and occasionally contaminated. Membrane distillation is a relatively recent development relative to ultrafiltration and reverse-osmosis. The principal of direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) relies on the temperature gradient between a hot feed and a cold distillate running in contact with a hydrophobic membrane surface. Due to differing vapor pressures between the solvent and solute in the hot feed, the water vapor from the hot feed flows across the membrane into the cold distillate where it condenses in a pervaporation process, leaving the solute in the hot feed as a concentrate.The objective of this research is to assess the feasibility of DCMD technology in addressing water resource limitations. The work will involve extensive practical testing of a system over a broad range of solutes and varying concentrations while making modifications to system process and design as needed to increase separation efficiency. In addition to technical testing and modification, an economic evaluation and an analysis of the required incentives is necessary to determine the circumstances under which this technology can be implemented as a viable and sustainable process of creating potable water.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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