(267f) Novel Aerogel Membranes for Membrane Distillation
Membrane Distillation (MD) technology, which substitutes low-temperature waste heat for electricity as the energy input to the desalination process, fills a unique niche in a water treatment portfolio. MD is able to treat brines over a much higher salinity window than other membrane based processes, thereby improving recovery rates from standard reverse osmosis processes and enhancing the viability of inland desalination. Second, MD is capable of using low-temperature waste heat as a feed source. This will enable step-changes in efficiency of water treatment if proximally located to a waste-heat source. The proposed aerogel membrane is expected to simultaneously probe the upper bounds of flux and the lower bounds of exergy loss for MD systems. Here we present highly successful preliminary results, and share the design implications for future MD membrane systems.