Refinery processed water treatment via the low energy Direct Contact Membrane Distillation (DCMD)
Mechanical Engineering Department, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Masdar Institute, Masdar City, P.O. Box 54224, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
2 ADNOC Refinery Research Center, ADNOC, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 15 October 2018
The amount of refinery water discharged to the environment from oil industry has increased vigorously in current times. Recent research has been focusing on the use of membrane technology for the refinery processed water treatment. Membrane Distillation (MD) is an emerging technology that has been highly marked by its low-energy requirement and high desalination efficiency. However, conventional MD membranes (i.e. PVDF) are not feasible for oil-water separation processes. That is due to the oleo-philic property of the membrane and thus, causes membrane fouling and halts the production of mass flux. An anti-oil-fouling membrane is essential for a successful oil-water separation by MD. Underwater-oleophobic as well as omniphobic are two different approaches in fabricating such membranes. The former approach is based on the asymmetric surface wettability, whereas the latter is attributed to the surface structure that is characterized by having a very large contact angle for all liquids. However, such composite membranes are characterized by their lower porosity, smaller pore size, but with unique surface slippage, in comparable with the conventional PVDF membranes. As such, in this work, high fidelity numerical simulation of DCMD is performed using non-isothermal Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) validated model in order to assess the role of the anti-oil-fouling membrane properties on the performance of the DCMD. Results are presented in terms of temperature polarization coefficient, mass flux, latent heat flux, and thermal efficiency. Results show the compromising effect of membrane porosity to 45% reduces the mass flux and thermal efficiency respectively by 68% and 40%, and reduction of pore size to the half (i.e. 50 nm) can cause a reduction by 50.6% in mass flux and 24.18% in thermal efficiency compared to the baseline (i.e. 100 nm). On the other hand, the omniphobic slippage effect leads to a noticeable gain of 16% in DCMD mass flux with slight gain in thermal efficiency. This can maximize mass flux and thermal efficiency to be as much as 50.3 kg/m2 h and 69%, respectively.
© K. El Kadi et al., published by IFP Energies nouvelles, 2019
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