Membrane Processes for the Regeneration of Liquid Desiccant Solution for Air Conditioning
Purpose of Review: Regeneration of liquid desiccant solutions is critical for the liquid desiccant air conditioning (LDAC) process. In most LDAC systems, the weak desiccant solution is regenerated using the energy-intensive thermal evaporation method which suffers from desiccant carry-over. Recently, membrane processes have gained increasing interest as a promising method for liquid desiccant solution regeneration. This paper provides a comprehensive review on the applications of membrane processes for regeneration of liquid desiccant solutions. Fundamental knowledge, working principles, and the applications of four key membrane processes (e.g., reverse osmosis (RO), forward osmosis (FO), electrodialysis (ED), and membrane distillation (MD)) are discussed to shed light on their feasibility for liquid desiccant solution regeneration and the associated challenges. Recent Findings: RO is effective at preventing desiccant carry-over; however, current RO membranes are not compatible with hypersaline liquid desiccant solutions. FO deploys a concentrated draw solution to overcome the high osmotic pressure of liquid desiccant solutions; hence, it is feasible for their regeneration despite the issues with internal/external concentration polarization and reverse salt flux. ED has proven its technical feasibility for liquid desiccant solution regeneration; nevertheless, more research into the process energy efficiency and the recycling of spent solution are recommended. Finally, as a thermally driven process, MD is capable of regenerating liquid desiccant solutions, but it is adversely affected by the polarization effects associated with the hypersalinity of the solutions. Summary: Extensive studies are required to realize the applications of membrane processes for the regeneration of liquid desiccant solutions used for LDAC systems.