Humidity control is an important factor affecting the overall sustainability, productivity, and energy efficiency of controlled environment agriculture. Liquid desiccants offer the potential for pinpoint control of humidity levels in controlled environments. In the present work, a dehumidification processes utilizing liquid desiccants pumped through the lumens of triple-bore PVDF hollow fibre membranes is implemented in a bench scale controlled environment agriculture system. Hydrophobic hollow fibre membranes were combined into an array and placed near the crops. Concentrated magnesium chloride liquid desiccant solution with a low vapour pressure was pumped through the hollow fibre lumens. The dehumidification permeance rate responded dynamically to the changing transpiration rate of the plants, as influenced by changes in environmental factors such as light, temperature, and vapour pressure. The dehumidification permeance rate increased from an average of 0.26–0.31 g m−2 h−1 Pa−1 as the velocity of the liquid desiccant through the hollow fibres increased from 0.023 to 0.081 m s−1. Humidity levels were targeted to be maintained within a range of 70–90% relative humidity at 23 °C. The membrane-based liquid desiccant system was demonstrated to successfully control humidity within a bench-scale controlled environment agricultural setup.
Treatment of produced water in the petroleum industry has been a challenge worldwide. In this study, we evaluated the use of direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) for this purpose, removing oil and dissolved elements and supplying clean water from waste. We synthesized fluorinated polyoxadiazole, a highly hydrophobic polymer, to fabricate hollow fiber membranes, which were optimized and tested for simulated produced water and real produced water treatment. The process performance was investigated under different operating parameters, such as feed temperature, feed flow velocity and length of the membrane module for 4 days. The results indicate that by increasing feed temperature and feed flow rate the vapor flux increases. The flux decreased with increasing the length of the module due to the decrease of the driving force along the module. The fouling behavior, which corresponds to flux decline and cleaning efficiency of the membrane, was studied. The performance of the fabricated hollow fiber membranes was demonstrated for the treatment of produced water, complying with the industrial reuse and discharge limits.
Francis, Lijo; Ghaffour, NorEddine; Alsaadi, Ahmad Salem; Nunes, Suzana Pereira; Amy, Gary L.(Journal of Membrane Science, Elsevier BV, 2014-04)[Article]
The flux performance of different hydrophobic microporous flat sheet commercial membranes made of poly tetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and poly propylene (PP) was tested for Red Sea water desalination using the direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) process, under bench scale (high δT) and large scale module (low δT) operating conditions. Membranes were characterized for their surface morphology, water contact angle, thickness, porosity, pore size and pore size distribution. The DCMD process performance was optimized using a locally designed and fabricated module aiming to maximize the flux at different levels of operating parameters, mainly feed water and coolant inlet temperatures at different temperature differences across the membrane (δT). Water vapor flux of 88.8kg/m2h was obtained using a PTFE membrane at high δT (60°C). In addition, the flux performance was compared to the first generation of a new locally synthesized and fabricated membrane made of a different class of polymer under the same conditions. A total salt rejection of 99.99% and boron rejection of 99.41% were achieved under extreme operating conditions. On the other hand, a detailed water characterization revealed that low molecular weight non-ionic molecules (ppb level) were transported with the water vapor molecules through the membrane structure. The membrane which provided the highest flux was then tested under large scale module operating conditions. The average flux of the latter study (low δT) was found to be eight times lower than that of the bench scale (high δT) operating conditions.
Francis, Lijo; Ghaffour, NorEddine; Alsaadi, Ahmad Salem; Nunes, Suzana Pereira; Amy, Gary L.(Journal of Materials Science, Springer Nature, 2013-11-26)[Article]
Polyvinylidene fluoride hollow fiber and nanofibrous membranes are engineered and successfully fabricated using dry-jet wet spinning and electrospinning techniques, respectively. Fabricated membranes are characterized for their morphology, average pore size, pore size distribution, nanofiber diameter distribution, thickness, and water contact angle. Direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) performances of the fabricated membranes have been investigated using a locally designed and fabricated, fully automated MD bench scale unit and DCMD module. Electrospun nanofibrous membranes showed a water flux as high as 36 L m-2 h-1 whereas hollow fiber membranes showed a water flux of 31.6 L m-2 h-1, at a feed inlet temperature of 80 °C and at a permeate inlet temperature of 20 °C.
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