Special Issue "Membrane Distillation Process"

A special issue of Membranes (ISSN 2077-0375).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Alessandra Criscuoli

Institute on Membrane Technology, Rende, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Membrane Contactors; Membrane Distillation; Integrated Membrane Systems; Water and Wastewater Treatment; Desalination; Energetic and Exergetic analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The water stress that we have been experiencing in the last few years is pushing towards the development of new technologies for the purification and recovery of water.

Membrane Distillation (MD) is based on the use of hydrophobic microporous membranes that prevent the passage of aqueous feed as liquid through the micropores, allowing the transport of water vapor and volatiles only, thanks to a difference of partial pressures established across the membrane. In this way, high-purity distillates can be produced starting from a variety of aqueous streams, like effluents coming from textile/agrofood/pharmaceutical industry, olive mill wastewaters, waters contaminated by heavy metals, sea, and brackish waters. Some studies on the application of MD for the purification of radioactive wastewaters and of urine have also been carried out.

With respect to Reverse Osmosis (RO), which is limited by the osmotic pressure and sometimes shows low rejection values for elements like As(III) and Boron, MD is able to produce fresh water from high-concentrated streams and provides 100% theoretical rejections for all non-volatiles present into the aqueous feeds.

Despite these advantages, MD is far from a significant application at industrial scale, due to some still pending issues:

  • need of developing membranes with high hydrophobicity and liquid entry pressure values, able to be stable when treating real streams in long-term runs;
  • need of developing modules with reduced thermal and mass transfer resistances;
  • need of reducing the specific thermal energy consumption.

Research on the above-mentioned points are in progress, including the use of renewable energies to cover the thermal demand of the system and the integration of MD with other membrane units, in order to improve the overall performance of the processes.

The aim of this Special Issue is to provide an overview of the last results obtained in the field for overcoming MD drawbacks and boosting its implementation at a large scale.

Dr. Alessandra Criscuoli
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Membranes is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Membrane Distillation
  • Water and Wastewater Treatment
  • Desalination
  • Hydrophobic Membranes
  • Specific Thermal Energy Consumption
  • Renewable Energies
  • Integrated Membrane Operations

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Treatment of Flue Gas Desulfurization Wastewater by an Integrated Membrane-Based Process for Approaching Zero Liquid Discharge
Membranes 2018, 8(4), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes8040117
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 19 November 2018 / Accepted: 22 November 2018 / Published: 26 November 2018
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An integrated membrane process for the treatment of wastewaters from a flue gas desulfurization (FGD) plant was implemented on a laboratory scale to reduce their salt content and to produce a water stream to be recycled in the power industry. The process is [...] Read more.
An integrated membrane process for the treatment of wastewaters from a flue gas desulfurization (FGD) plant was implemented on a laboratory scale to reduce their salt content and to produce a water stream to be recycled in the power industry. The process is based on a preliminary pretreatment of FGD wastewaters, which includes chemical softening and ultrafiltration (UF) to remove Ca2+ and Mg2+ ions as well as organic compounds. The pretreated wastewaters were submitted to a reverse osmosis (RO) step to separate salts from water. The RO retentate was finally submitted to a membrane distillation (MD) step to extract more water, thus increasing the total water recovery factor while producing a high-purity permeate stream. The performance of RO and MD membranes was evaluated by calculating salts rejection, permeate flux, fouling index, and water recovery. The investigated integrated system allowed a total recovery factor of about 94% to be reached, with a consequent reduction of the volume of FGD wastewater to be disposed, and an MD permeate stream with an electrical conductivity of 80 μS/cm, able to be reused in the power plant, with a saving in fresh water demand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Distillation Process)

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