Characterization and Assessment of a Novel Plate and Frame MD Module for Single Pass Wastewater Concentration-FEED Gap Air Gap Membrane Distillation
Membrane distillation (MD) is an up and coming technology for concentration and separation on the verge of reaching commercialization. One of the remaining boundaries is the lack of available full-scale MD modules and systems suitable to meet the requirements of potential industrial applications. In this work a new type of feed gap air gap MD (FGAGMD) plate and frame module is introduced, designed and characterized with tap water and NaCl-H2O solution. The main feature of the new channel configuration is the separation of the heating and cooling channel from the feed channel, enabling a very high recovery ratio in a single pass. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as flux, gained output ratio (GOR), recovery ratio and thermal efficiency are used to analyze the performance of the novel module concept within this work. A recovery rate of 93% was reached with tap water and between 32-53% with salt solutions ranging between 117 and 214 g NaCl/kg solution with this particular prototype module. Other than recovery ratio, the KPIs of the FGAGMD are similar to those of an air gap membrane distillation (AGMD) channel configuration. From the experimental results, furthermore, a new MD KPI was defined as the ratio of heating and cooling flow to feed flow. This RF ratio can be used for optimization of the module design and efficiency.