Publication Details

Duong, H. C., Duke, M., Gray, S., Cooper, P. & Nghiem, L. D. (2016). Membrane scaling and prevention techniques during seawater desalination by air gap membrane distillation. Desalination, 397 92-100.


Membrane scaling and mitigation techniques during air gap membrane distillation (AGMD) of seawater were investigated. The results showed a strong influence of AGMD operating temperature on not only the process water flux but also membrane scaling and subsequent cleaning efficiency. Elevating feed/coolant temperature from 35/25 to 60/50 °C increased water flux, but also exacerbated membrane scaling of the AGMD process. Membrane scaling was more severe, and occurred at a lower water recovery (68%) when operating at 60/50 °C compared to 35/25 °C (78%) due to increased concentration polarisation effect. Operating temperature also affected the efficiency of the subsequent membrane cleaning. Membrane scaling that occurred at low temperature (i.e. 35/25 °C) was more efficiently cleaned than at high temperature (i.e. 60/50 °C). In addition, membrane cleaning using vinegar was much more efficient than fresh water. Nevertheless, vinegar cleaning could not completely restore the membrane surface to the original condition. Traces of residual scalants on the membrane surface accelerated scaling in the next operation cycle. On the other hand, anti-scalant addition could effectively control scaling. Membrane scaling during AGMD of seawater at 70% water recovery and 60/50 °C was effectively controlled by anti-scalant addition.



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