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Operational experience of a solar membrane distillation demonstration plant in Pozo Izquierdo - Gran Canaria Island (Spain)

: Schwantes, R.; Raluy, R.G.; Subiela, J.V.; Penate, B.; Melian, G.; Betancort, J R.


Desalination 290 (2012), S.1-13
ISSN: 0011-9164
Fraunhofer ISE ()
Solarthermie; Optik; Regenerative Stromversorgung; Dezentrale Wasseraufbereitung

Desalination is a technology with a high energy demand, mainly supplied by fossil sources. Therefore, solar energy is a real alternative, as it supplies virtually unlimited energy. Solar desalination could be an ideal solution for isolated areas which receive high solar irradiation per day. Solar Membrane Distillation (MD) is a developing technology particularly interesting for small supplies, isolated populations and autonomous systems. As it is a low temperature operation process, MD is very suitable for integration with thermal solar systems and/or waste heat recovery units; in contrast to other desalination technologies, only a coarse filtration of the water is required as pretreatment. However, the commercial availability is currently quite limited. This paper presents the promising 5-year experience and data analysis of a solar compact MD demonstration plant installed in the facilities of the Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias (ITC) in Playa de Pozo Izquierdo (Gran Canary Island-Spain).

The unit was designed and installed at the end of 2004 as part of a co-funded FP6 DGTREN research project called "'Development of stand-alone, solar thermally driven and PV-supplied desalination systems based on innovative membrane distillation" (MEMDIS) and has been continuously tested within the FP7 EU co-funded project called "MEmbrane DIstillation in Remote AreaS-MEDIRAS".