Development of Membrane Distillation Technology Utilizing Waste Heat for Treatment of High Salinity Wastewaters


Direct contact membrane distillation<br/>experimental set-up
Direct contact membrane distillation
experimental set-up
University of Pittsburgh
Website:  University of Pittsburgh
Award Number:  FE0024061
Project Duration:  10/01/2014 – 10/31/2017
Total Award Value:  $654,183
DOE Share:  $496,805
Performer Share:  $157,378
Technology Area:  Plant Optimization Technologies
Key Technology:  Water Management R&D
Location:  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Project Description

This study will evaluate the feasibility of using membrane distillation (MD) technology to treat high salinity wastewaters generated during unconventional gas production or CO2 sequestration utilizing waste heat that is available in thermoelectric power plants or compressor stations (both natural gas and CO2 compressors). Laboratory-scale studies with synthetic and actual wastewaters will be used to assess capabilities and limitations of MD technology and define key design and operating parameters for high salinity brines generated by unconventional gas extraction or active CO2 reservoir management. This information will be utilized for a systems-level analysis and integration of MD process with low-grade heat sources (i.e., thermoelectric power plants and natural gas and CO2 compressor stations). A preliminary techno-economic assessment of the proposed integrated system that compares competing technologies and systems that use natural gas as fuel source in the formations where natural gas is the main target resource (i.e., Marcellus Shale) and those where it is not (i.e., Baken and Eagle Ford) will be conducted.

Project Benefits

This project aims to advance the use of alternative sources of energy for treatment of wastewater to promote the recycle and reuse of wastewater, reduce the energy footprint, and enhance the mobility of treatment systems. The technology may improve the economics and performance of membrane distilliation technology.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Maria Reidpath:
Technology Manager 
Briggs White:
Principal Investigator 
Radisav Vidic:

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