Chemical Engineering Research & Design, Vol.163, 217-229, 2020
Numerical study on performance and efficiency of batch submerged vacuum membrane distillation for desalination
Harvesting clean water from seawater is widely studied in thermal-driven vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) application. Although the conventional VMD promotes excellent flux due to the deaeration by means of vacuum, the external heat supply of the system suffers the heat loss during pumping high feed volume. The batch submerged VMD (S-VMD) which has internal heat supply was introduced in this work to provide uniform feed temperature in the feed tank. This simple and space-saving design makes it particularly suitable to supply water for small community with space limitation. To evaluate the energy efficiency of the S-VMD in desalinating seawater, the performance of the system had been simulated and verified with the experimental results. The effects of main operating parameters including feed temperature and its circulation rate, heat transfer coefficient, vacuum degree on permeate side, packing density of membrane and temperature polarization on the membrane permeation flux using saline water feed had been experimentally investigated. Energy efficiency in terms of gained output ratio (GOR) and thermal loss of the heat supply had also been examined. The simulated results showed that the flux enhanced with the increase of feed temperature, circulation rate, vacuum degree and packing density of membrane. The combination of feed temperature with circulation flow and packing density of membrane played dominant role to improve permeate flux and GOR of the system. This finding is important for the future implementation of S-VMD system in space-constraint remote area. The simulation results were in good agreement with experimental results, recording less than 5% error. (C) 2020 Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.