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Performance Comparison between Polyvinylidene Fluoride and Polytetrafluoroethylene Hollow Fiber Membranes for Direct Contact Membrane Distillation

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM 87801, USA
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Membranes 2019, 9(4), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes9040052
Received: 17 March 2019 / Revised: 7 April 2019 / Accepted: 8 April 2019 / Published: 11 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-art Membrane-based Desalination)
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Abstract

Increasing water demand coupled with projected climate change puts the Southwestern United States at the highest risk of water sustainability by 2050. Membrane distillation offers a unique opportunity to utilize the substantial, but largely untapped geothermal brackish groundwater for desalination to lessen the stress. Two types of hydrophobic, microporous hollow fiber membranes (HFMs), including polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), were evaluated for their effectiveness in direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD). Water flux and salt rejection were measured as a function of module packing density and length in lab-scale systems. The PVDF HFMs generally exhibited higher water flux than the PTFE HFMs possibly due to thinner membrane wall and higher porosity. As the packing density or module length increased, water flux declined. The water production rate per module, however, increased due to the larger membrane surface area. A pilot-scale DCMD system was deployed to the 2nd largest geothermally-heated greenhouse in the United States for field testing over a duration of about 22 days. The results demonstrated the robustness of the DCMD system in the face of environmental fluctuation at the facility. View Full-Text
Keywords: DCMD; membrane distillation; desalination; hollow fiber membrane; PVDF; PTFE; water flux; field performance; pilot plant; geothermal; greenhouse DCMD; membrane distillation; desalination; hollow fiber membrane; PVDF; PTFE; water flux; field performance; pilot plant; geothermal; greenhouse
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Huang, F.Y.C.; Arning, A. Performance Comparison between Polyvinylidene Fluoride and Polytetrafluoroethylene Hollow Fiber Membranes for Direct Contact Membrane Distillation. Membranes 2019, 9, 52.

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