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Open AccessArticle

Evaluation of Permeate Quality in Pilot Scale Membrane Distillation Systems

1
Dipartimento di Ingegneria, Università degli Studi di Palermo (UNIPA), viale delle Scienze, Ed. 6, 90128 Palermo, Italy
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, Universidad de Almeria—CIESOL, 04120 Almería, Spain
3
CIEMAT—Plataforma Solar de Almeria, Ctra. de Senés s/n, 04200 Tabernas, Almería, Spain
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Membranes 2019, 9(6), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes9060069
Received: 29 April 2019 / Revised: 30 May 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 5 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Distillation Process)
In this work, the salinity of permeate obtained with membrane distillation (MD) in pilot scale systems was analyzed. Experiments were performed with three different spiral-wound commercial modules, one from Solar Spring with 10 m2 surface membrane area and two from Aquastill with 7.2 and 24 m2. Intermittent operation meant that high permeate conductivity was measured in the beginning of each experiment, which was gradually decreasing until reaching a constant value (3–143 µS·cm−1 for seawater feed). The final quality reached did not depend on operating conditions, only the time it took to reach it. This can be because the permeate flux dilutes the minimal feed leak taking place through pinholes in the membranes. Larger feed leak through the membrane was observed when operating in vacuum-enhanced air-gap MD configuration (V-AGMD), which is compatible with this explanation. However, for the increase of feed leak with salinity (up to 1.8 M), a conclusive explanation cannot be given. Pore wetting due to crystallization is discarded because the high permeate quality was recovered after washing with distilled water. More studies at higher salinities and also at membrane level are required to investigate this. View Full-Text
Keywords: desalination; brine treatment; membrane distillation; pilot scale; permeate quality; membrane filtration; high salinity desalination; brine treatment; membrane distillation; pilot scale; permeate quality; membrane filtration; high salinity
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Ruiz-Aguirre, A.; Andrés-Mañas, J.A.; Zaragoza, G. Evaluation of Permeate Quality in Pilot Scale Membrane Distillation Systems. Membranes 2019, 9, 69.

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