This paper presents a comparative study on the role of operating conditions in osmotic distillation (OD) and direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD). Comparisons were made for lab scale OD and DCMD experiments on two types of PVDF hollow fibres under similar operating conditions for the concentration of glucose solutions from 30 to 60% (w/w) at temperatures as low as 25 to 45°C. Analysis of the results indicated that temperature was the most influencing factor for process improvement for both OD and DCMD. The flux in DCMD was improved by 3 to 4 times when feed temperature increased by 15 degrees, while this figure was nearly 3 times for OD when feed temperature increased by 20 degrees. The flow rates of the two streams played a more important role in maintaining the driving force, and consequently the flux rate, in DCMD rather than in OD. It was found that feed velocity had significant effect on DCMD performance, but insignificant in OD. Feed concentration, as the determining factor on water activity and viscosity, caused a more serious reduction of the flux rate in the high concentration range of 45-60% rather than in the dilute region of 30-40%. The effect was more significant in DCMD than in OD. The ratio of DCMD flux over that of OD ranged from 0.41 to 0.66 for PV375 when concentrating glucose solutions 30-40% w/w and from 0.35 to 0.69 for PV650 when concentrating high solid content ones. However, DCMD can overcome the disadvantages of OD being poor consumers’ perception, (due to the use of brine solution being a chemical), the potential problem of corrosion by the brine and the cost of its reconcentration.
- osmotic distillation,
- membrane distillation,
- PVDF hollow fibres,
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