Back
 JEP  Vol.12 No.2 , February 2021
Trends in Membrane Distillation for Wastewater Treatment
Abstract: Membrane distillation (MD) is a promising technology that enables the treatment of high-salinity wastewater. To monitor the state and trends of MD technology for wastewater treatment, the patent filings from the last nine years were analyzed. A total of 72 documents with a special focus either on the membrane itself or on the equipment and process were found. China, United States and Japan play a leading role in the development of these technologies. Most of the inventions concentrating on the membrane apply polymers as the material. Inventions describing the equipment and process are mainly related to system and module design, but also cover the combination of MD with other technologies, the treatment customization to a specific type of wastewater, fouling control and cleaning, and energy recovery. Finally, enhancements in water flux and energy efficiency are found to be key factors to broaden the application of MD technology in wastewater treatment.
Cite this paper: Cerveira, G. , de Magalhães, J. , de S. Antunes, A. (2021) Trends in Membrane Distillation for Wastewater Treatment. Journal of Environmental Protection, 12, 106-124. doi: 10.4236/jep.2021.122008.
References

[1]   UNICEF and WHO (2019) Progress on Household Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 2000-2017. Special Focus on Inequalities. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva.
https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/jmp-2019-full-report.pdf

[2]   Vorosmarty, C.J., et al. (2000) Global Water Resources: Vulnerability from Climate Change and Population Growth. Science, 289, 284-288.
https://doi.org/10.1126/science.289.5477.284

[3]   Haddeland, I., et al. (2014) Global Water Resources Affected by Human Interventions and Climate Change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111, 3251-3256.
https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1222475110

[4]   Rahman Choudhury, M., et al. (2019) Fouling and Wetting in the Membrane Distillation Driven Wastewater Reclamation Process—A Review.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cis.2019.04.008

[5]   Warsinger, D.M., et al. (2018) A Review of Polymeric Membranes and Processes for Potable Water Reuse. Progress in Polymer Science, 81, 209-237.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.progpolymsci.2018.01.004

[6]   Subramani, A. and Jacangelo, J.G. (2015) Emerging Desalination Technologies for Water Treatment: A Critical Review. Water Research, 75, 164-187.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2015.02.032

[7]   Khayet, M. (2011) Membranes and Theoretical Modeling of Membrane Distillation: A Review. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, 164, 56-88.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cis.2010.09.005

[8]   Panagopoulos, A., Haralambous, K.J. and Loizidou, M. (2019) Desalination Brine Disposal Methods and Treatment Technologies: A Review. Science of the Total Environment, 693, Article ID: 133545.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.07.351

[9]   Alkhudhiri, A., Darwish, N. and Hilal, N. (2012) Membrane Distillation: A Comprehensive Review. Desalination, 287, 2-18.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2011.08.027

[10]   Drioli, E., Ali, A. and Macedonio, F. (2015) Membrane Distillation: Recent Developments and Perspectives. Desalination, 356, 56-84.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2014.10.028

[11]   Wang, P. and Chung, T.S. (2015) Recent Advances in Membrane Distillation Processes: Membrane Development, Configuration Design and Application Exploring. Journal of Membrane Science, 474, 39-56.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.memsci.2014.09.016

[12]   Tijing, L.D., et al. (2015) Fouling and Its Control in Membrane Distillation: A Review. Journal of Membrane Science, 475, 215-244.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.memsci.2014.09.042

[13]   Qu, D., et al. (2013) Experimental Study of Ammonia Removal from Water by Modified Direct Contact Membrane Distillation. Desalination, 326, 135-140.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2013.07.021

[14]   Jacob, P., et al. (2015) Direct Contact Membrane Distillation for Anaerobic Effluent Treatment. Journal of Membrane Science, 475, 330-339.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.memsci.2014.10.021

[15]   Li, C., et al. (2019) Membrane Distillation Coupled with a Novel Two-Stage Pretreatment Process for Petrochemical Wastewater Treatment and Reuse. Separation and Purification Technology, 224, 23-32.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seppur.2019.05.007

[16]   Gryta, M. (2020) Separation of Saline Oily Wastewater by Membrane Distillation. Chemical Papers, 74, 2277-2286.
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11696-020-01071-y

[17]   Abdelkader, S., et al. (2019) Application of Direct Contact Membrane Distillation for Saline Dairy Effluent Treatment: Performance and Fouling Analysis. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 26, 18979-18992.
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-018-2475-3

[18]   Guo, J., et al. (2020) Elucidating the Fouling Mechanism in Pharmaceutical Wastewater Treatment by Membrane Distillation. Desalination, 475, Article ID: 114148.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2019.114148

[19]   Yao, M., et al. (2020) A Review of Membrane Wettability for the Treatment of Saline Water Deploying Membrane Distillation. Desalination, 479, Article ID: 114312.
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2020.114312

[20]   Wang, F., et al. (2013) Method for Preparing PTFE Hollow Fiber Membrane That Is Utilized in Membrane Distillation, Involves Mixing PTFE Dispersion Powder and Extruding-Aid Agent, Pressing and Extruding Blank into PTFE Hollow Tube by Pushing and Pressing Machine. CN102941025-A.

[21]   Chen, J., et al. (2013) Super-Hydrophobic PTFE Hollow Fibrous Membrane Preparation Method, Involves Selecting PTFE Disperse Resin Powder and Extrusion Aid, Mixing PTFE Disperse Resin Powder and Extrusion Aid, and Standing Mixed Product at Specific Temperature. CN103386261-A.

[22]   Xi, Z., Yang, Y. and Zhang, X. (2014) Preparing Hydrophobic Polypropylene Hollow Fiber Membrane Used in Petrochemical Enterprises for Reverse Osmosis Treatment of Concentrated Water, Involves Adding Polypropylene Resin, Diluting Agent and Additive. CN103785303-A.

[23]   Xi, Z., Yang, Y. and Zhang, X. (2015) Hydrophobic Polypropylene Hollow Fiber Membrane Used for Internal-Pressure Vacuum Distillation Process in Petrochemical Industry, Comprises Specified Amount of Polypropylene Resin, Diluents and Additives. CN104511247-A.

[24]   Hu, B. and Jiang, L. (2018) Preparation of Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) Hollow Fiber Membrane for Distillation of Acid Wastewater, Involves Spraying Casting Liquid, and Core Liquid into Phase Change Type in Outer Condensate, to Obtain Membrane Filament, and Washing. CN108993173-A.

[25]   KhayetSouhaimi, M. and Garcia Payo, M. D. C. (2011) Polyvinylidene Fluoride-co-F6PP Copolymer or Polyvinylidene Fluoride Nanofibrous or Nanostructured Flat Membranes for e.g. Wastewater Treatment, Are Produced by Electrospinning with Solvents Having Different Affinities. WO2011117443-A1.

[26]   Khayet, M., et al. (2012) Composite Hydrophilic Hydrophobic Membrane Used in Membrane Distillation System for e.g. Seawater Desalination, Food Processing Comprises Hydrophilic Polymer Layer, Hydrophobic Polymer Layer and Fluorinated Surface-Modifying Macromolecules. WO2012100318-A1.

[27]   Qtaishat, M. R., Khayet, M. and Matsuura, T. (2011) Composite Hydrophilic/Hy- drophobic Membrane Useful in Direct Contact Membrane Distillation System for Seawater Desalination, Comprises Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Polymer Layers Comprising Fluorinated Surface-Modifying Macromolecule. US2011031100-A1.

[28]   Lin, S., Wang, Z. and Huang, Y. (2018) Composite Membrane Used for Distillation of Contaminated Brine Solution, Comprises Omniphobic Substrate Having Re-Entrant Structure and Surface Coated with Dual Functional Layer Which Is Hydrophilic in Air and Oleophobic under Water. US2018345227-A1.

[29]   Li, F. (2013) Hydrophilic/Hydrophobic Composite Film for e.g. Desalting Bitter Brackish Water, Has Hydrophilic Layer, Hydrophobic Layer and Nonwoven Fabric Supporting Layer, Where Film Is Made of Hydrophilic Layer Membrane Liquid and Dimethyl Acetamide. CN103372378-A.

[30]   Chen, L., et al. (2019) Composite Membrane Useful in the Treatment of Oily Wastewater Comprises Hydrophobic Polyvinylidene Difluoride Film as Carrier, and the Graphitic Carbon Nitride Film as the Hydrophilic Layer. CN109985536-A.

[31]   Almuttiri, S., et al. (2012) Membrane Distillation System Useful for Direct Contact Membrane Distillation, Comprises a Flat-Sheet Composite Mixed Matrix Hydrophilic/Hydrophobic Membrane Having at Least a Hydrophilic Layer and a Hydrophobic Layer. WO2012100326-A1.

[32]   Almuttiri, S., Qtaishat, M.R. and Qtaishat Mohammed, R. (2014) Manufacture of Multilayered Polymeric and Mixed Matrix Membrane Used for Plate-and-Frame Membrane Module, Involves Providing Support Layer, Casting Hydrophilic Layer on Support Layer and Casting Hydrophobic Layer on Hydrophilic Layer.
WO2014111889-A2.

[33]   Yao, H., et al. (2019) Preparing Blended Modified Polyvinylidene Fluoride Film Useful for Vacuum Membrane Distillation and Recovery in High Salinity Organic Wastewater Comprises e.g. Adding Titanium Dioxide, Graphene, Polar Solvent, and Mixing. CN110152504-A.

[34]   Dong, Y., et al. (2017) Complex Film Used in e.g. Desalination of Seawater, Comprises Spinel Hollow Fiber Ceramic Membrane as Carrier and Complex Structure of Carbon Nanotubes Completely Covering Carrier as Membrane Structure.
CN107096393-A.

[35]   Mitra, S. and Gethard, K. (2011) Membrane e.g. Flat Membrane, for Membrane Distillation Comprises a Membrane Including Nanocarbons in the Form of Single or Multiwalled Carbon Nanotubes, Incorporated into the Membrane Structure. US2011272354-A1.

[36]   Dastgheib, S. A., et al. (2017) Carbon Nanotube Membrane for e.g. Producing Pure Water, Water Desalination, Recovering Dissolved Material and Direct Contact Membrane Distillation Comprises Substrate Which Is Coated with Carbon Nanotubes. US2017165612-A1.

[37]   Seo, D. H., et al. (2018) Continuous Permeable Graphene Film Comprises at Least Two Layers of Graphene and Nanochannels or Nanopores Providing a Fluid Passage from One Face of the Film to the Other. WO2018161116-A1.

[38]   Guo, Z., Zhang, X., Luan, J. and Zhang, C. (2018) Novel Air Gap Multi-Effect Membrane Distillation Device for Treating Different High-Salt Wastewater from Petrochemical Enterprises, Has Gas Water Separator Whose Lower End Outlet Is Connected to Inlet of Product Collection Tank. CN108619913-A.

[39]   Yamaguchi, A. and Morita, T. (2015) Wastewater Treatment Method Involves Carrying Out Membrane Distillation of Isolated Heating Waste Water Using Hydrophobic Porous Membrane, and Collecting and Removing Oil Components and Salt Content Contained in Heating Waste Water. JP2015100775-A.

[40]   Yamaguchi, A. and Morita, T. (2015) Method for Treating Waste Water Generated during Extracting Petroleum from Stratum or Bedrock Layer, Involves Carrying out Membrane Distillation Using Hydrophobic Porous Membrane, and Removing Oil Component. JP2015100776-A.

[41]   Yu, X., et al. (2012) Treating Oily Wastewater Comprises Pretreating Oily Wastewater Using Electrocoagulation, Flotation or Absorbing to Produce Pretreated Water, and Treating Pretreated Water Using Membrane Distillation to Produce Product Water. US2012132588-A1.

[42]   Khayet Souhaimi, M., et al. (2017) Set of Hollow Fiber Membranes Supported in Mesh Useful in Membrane Module for Membrane Distillation System to Treat and Desalinate Fluids. WO2017140927-A1.

[43]   Arai, H., Osada, K. and Takezawa, H. (2018) Membrane Distillation Apparatus for Treatment of Water e.g. Industrial Water, Has Whole Distillation Unit That Is Heated at High Temperature from Temperature of Condensation Unit. JP2018083189-A.

[44]   Takahashi, T. and Arai, H. (2019) Membrane Module for Membrane Distillation Apparatus, Includes Cylindrical Waste Strainer Which Is Embedded under Hollow Fiber Membrane at Vicinity of Water Outlet. JP2019048257-A.

[45]   Li, X., Shi, Z. and Yang, X. (2016) Saline Waste Water Processing System Comprises Hydrophobic Film and Evaporator, Which Includes Water Inlet and Water Outlet, and the Hydrophobic Film Is Provided with Condensing Film inside Evaporator and Steam Pressurizing Device. CN105692739-A.

[46]   Shi, Z., et al. (2018) Roll-Type Membrane Distillation Device of Membrane Distillation System, Has Evaporation Channels Which Are Configured to Receive Steam Generated by Evaporation of Raw Water by Heat, and to Discharge Steam from Outlet of Evaporation Channel. CN108067100-A.

[47]   Guo, P., et al. (2015) Saline Wastewater Membrane Distillation Unit Includes Pre-After Raw Material Pump, Heat Exchanger, Liquid Storage Tank, Circulation Pump, Heating Device, Film Distillation System, Heat Exchange System and Distilled Water Collection Tank. CN204261564-U.

[48]   Zhu, T., Yan, H. and Li, M. (2019) Ultrasonic Assisted Membrane Distillation Unit for Processing High Salt Water in Laboratory, Has Flow Meter That Is Connected to Cold Side Inlet of Membrane Module Whose Cold Side Water Outlet Is Connected to Cold Water Collection Tank. CN209065483-U.

[49]   Vinz, P. (2014) Treatment Method for Enriching on Separating Mixture Components from Sewage Liquid Mixtures, Involves Depressurizing and Re-Introducing Permeate from Primary Channel of First Treatment Zone into Secondary Channel of Second Treatment Zone. DE102012017860-A1.

[50]   Van Medevoort, J. (2011) Preparation Method for Planar Membrane Module, Involves Stacking Membrane Frames and Joining Membrane Frames Together in Gas-Tight Manner to Form Planar Membrane Module by Welding of Potting Material. EP2283988-A1.

[51]   Maessen, R. T. H. and Weijdema, H. (2013) Membrane Distillation System for e.g. Water Purification, Has Membrane Distillation Module Whose Distillate Exit Is Provided with Fluid-Permeable Membrane Unit between Membrane Distillation Module and Distillate Collector Unit. EP2606953-A1.

[52]   Kanazawa, S., Okuda, Y. and Katayama, K. (2014) Fresh Water Producing Apparatus Has Hydrophobic Porous Membrane Having Through-Hole That Permeates Water Vapor Generated from Treated Water in Which Water Pressure Resistance in Surface Side Is in Predetermined Range. JP2014004497-A.

[53]   Ma, Z., et al. (2011) Circuitous Membrane Distillation System Useful in the Treatment of Wastewater and Salty or Brine Solutions, Comprises Distillation Vessel Defining Distillation Volume Having Portions, and Array of Hollow Fiber Membranes. US2011180383-A1.

[54]   Cordatos, H., et al. (2011) Zero Liquid Discharge Water Treatment System for Treating e.g. Seawater, Has Membrane Distillation Unit with Membrane Wall Allowing Vapor Transmission of Distillate from Bore Side of Hollow Fiber Membrane to Shell Side of Fiber Membrane. US2011180479-A1.

[55]   Chen, J. H. and Lin, Y. H. (2011) Condensing Tube, Useful as Condensing Member in Membrane Distillation, Comprises Hollow Body Having a Central Hollow Compartment, Porous Covering Layer Covering the Hollow Body, and Condensation Chamber. US2011284444-A1.

[56]   Taylor, G. P. and Sengupta, A. (2014) Membrane Contactor, Useful for Membrane Distillation and Ammonia Removal from Wastewater, Comprises Cylindrical Housing or Shell Made of Pipe, and Integrally Potted Hollow Fiber Membrane Structure in Cylindrical Housing. US2014263061-A1.

[57]   Francis, L., Ghaffour, N. and Alsaadi, A. (2016) Membrane Distillation Used for Desalination of Water, Involves Providing Membrane Distillation Module Which Is Submerged with Tank, Heating Feed Stream, Providing Difference in Partial Vapor Pressure and Passing Water Vapor. US2016310900-A1.

[58]   Lee, S., et al. (2019) Recovering Resource Involves Feeding Raw Water to First-Stage Raw Water Tank, Supplying High-Temperature Vapor to the First-Stage Heat Exchanger, Performing Heat Exchange and Supplying the Changed Vapor to a Subsequent-Stage Heat Exchanger. US2019144309-A1.

[59]   Nagata, K. and Arai, H. (2016) Membrane Distillation Apparatus of Pure-Water Supply System, Used for Treatment of e.g. Wastewater, Has Condensation Portion for Separating Second Liquid-Phase Portion into Which Cooling Water Flows, and Second Gaseous-Phase Portion. WO2016006670-A1.

[60]   Chidambaran, R., et al. (2016) Performing Volume Reduction and Concentration of Brine Useful for Preparing Purified Water Vapor, Involves Circulating First Brine in Tank, Creating Negative Pressure, Drawing Water Vapor into Pouch in Tank and Condensing into Water. WO2016172539-A1.

[61]   Chen, L., Wang, H. and Yang, Q. (2017) Processing of Sweet Industrial Wastewater, by Heating Wastewater, Incinerating, Filtering in Hollow Fiber Nanofiltration Membrane to Remove Fatty Acid, Distilling, Evaporating and Concentrating to Obtain Crude Glycerol and Water. CN106495382-A.

[62]   Van Medevoort, J., et al. (2013) Separation of Compound from Aqueous Feed Stream Involves Crystallizing Portion of Compound in Feed Stream by Adding Crystallizing Agent, Forming Mixture Containing Crystals and Liquid, and Carrying out Membrane Separation Process. EP2671845-A1.

[63]   Nakado, Y., et al. (2014) Space Water Treatment System for Processing Waste Water in Space Station, Has Catalyst Oxidation Unit That Processes Supplied Treated Water by Catalyst Oxidation Method among First and Second Treated Water. JP2014188468-A.

[64]   Kyungjin, C., et al. (2016) Apparatus Used for Treating High-Temperature Wastewater, Comprises Waste Water Storage Tank, Contaminants Controlling Tank, Where Reverse Osmosis Membrane Process Collects Pure Water Passing from Reverse Performing Tank. KR2016123822-A.

[65]   Shapiro, A.P. (2012) System for Performing Desalination Process Such as Distillation of Water e.g. Wastewater, Has Membrane Distillation (MD) Module Whose Latent Heat of Condensation Is Transferred Directly to Latent Heat of Vaporization. US2012048803-A1.

[66]   KhayetSouhaimi, M., et al. (2015) Treating Aqueous Salt Streams Involves Chemical Treatment of Salt Stream to Temperature above Freezing Point of Aqueous Stream to Be Treated, Removing Salts, and Concentrating Aqueous Stream by Distillation Membrane. WO2015162314-A1.

[67]   Ghaffour, N., et al. (2016) Forward Osmosis Membrane Distillation Module for Use in e.g. Industrial Saline Wastewater Applications, Has Forward Osmosis Draw Solution Chamber Including Inlet within Housing to Allow Membrane Distillation Feed Solution from Feed Chamber. WO2016135701-A1.

[68]   Hong, S. P., et al. (2013) Separating and Recovering Dimethylformamide from Industrial Waste Water by Placing Polyamide Reverse Osmosis Membranes Serially or Parallely, Transferring Dimethylformamide Solvent to Distillation Tower and Separating and Purifying. KR2013101279-A.

[69]   Bae, H., et al. (2016) Device Useful to Process Ammonia Wastewater, Comprises e.g. an Ammonia Concentration Tank to Supply Raw Water Containing Ammonia into Membrane Distillation Unit, and a Membrane Distillation Unit to Separate Raw Water into Processed Water. KR2016149699-A.

[70]   Nakano, T. and Terashi, R. (2018) Processing Fluorine-Containing Water Involves Using Liquid Containing Fluorosilicic Ion, Supplying Liquid to Treat to One Side of Hydrophobic Porous Membrane to Perform Membrane Distillation to Increase Concentration of Fluorine Component. JP2018065101-A.

[71]   Yu, J.T., Willman, E.J. and Sathyagal, A. (2017) Treating Effluent Waste from Cation-Exchange Column Regeneration Cycle Involves Backwashing Exhausted Cation-Exchange Column with Backwash Water, Regenerating, Precipitating, Filtering, Recovering Membrane-Based Water, and Recirculating. US2017057854-A1.

[72]   Yu, S., et al. (2018) Cleaning and Drying Membrane by Vacuum Membrane Distillation Comprises Subjecting the Wastewater to Vacuum Membrane Distillation Treatment, and Directly Washing and Drying the Membrane of the Vacuum Membrane Distillation. CN108704486-A.

[73]   Govindan, P.N., et al. (2014) Cation-Sequestering Method Used for Production of Pure Water, Involves Adding Multi-Dentate Ligand to Aqueous Composition Containing Cations, Forming Non-Scaling Ionic Complex, and Reducing pH of Aqueous Composition. US2014263055-A1.

[74]   Cates, E. L. H. (2016) Preventing Biofouling of Water Treatment Membrane Comprises Directing X-Rays into Water Treatment Membrane Module and at Luminescent Material That Is in Optical Communication with Water Treatment Membrane. US2016107126-A1.

[75]   Guo, Q., et al. (2016) Direct Air-Cooling Heat Recovery and Water Treatment Device Comprises a Pretreatment Device, a Heating Cell, an Air Extracting Pump, a First Heat Exchanger, a First Stirring Device, a Boiler, a Membrane Distillation Device and a Water Pump. CN106219855-A.

[76]   Guo, Z., Zhang, X., Luan, J. and Peng, H. (2018) Membrane Distillation Device for Treating High-Salt Wastewater Produced by Different Industrial Systems, Is Coupled to Heat Recovery System and Comprises Raw Water Tank, Membrane Distillation Module, Water Production Collection Device. CN108622983-A.

[77]   Nakai, R. (2011) Membrane Distillation Type Water-Forming System for Purifying Waste Water Comprises Raw Water Tank, Membrane Distillation Apparatus, and Heating Apparatus. JP2011167597-A.

 
 
Top