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Membrane Water Treatment
  Volume 2, Number 3, July 2011, pages 147-158

Desalination of geothermal water by membrane distillation
M. Gryta and M. Palczy ski

    Membrane distillation process was used for desalination of hot (333 K) geothermal water, which was applied in the plant producing heating water. The investigated water contained 120 g salts/dm3, mainly NaCl. The mineral composition was studied using an ion chromatography method. The obtained rejection of solutes was closed to 100%, but the small amounts of NH3 also diffused through the membrane together with water vapour. However, the composition of obtained distillate allowed to use it as a makeup water in the heating water system. The geothermal water under study was concentrated from 120 to 286 g NaCl/dm3. This increase in the solution concentration caused the permeate flux decline by a 10-20%. The geothermal water contained sulphates, which was subjected to two–fold concentration to achieve the concentration 2.4-2.6 g SO4 2−/dm3 and the sulphates then crystallized in the form of calcium sulphate. As a results, an intensive membranes scaling and the permeate flux decline was observed. The XRD analysis indicated that beside the gypsum also the NaCl crystallites were deposited on the membrane surfaces. The fresh geothermal water dissolved the mixed CaSO4 and NaCl deposit from the membrane surface. This property can be utilized for self-cleaning of MD modules. Using a batch feeding of MD installation, the concentration of geothermal water was carried out over 800 h, without significant performance losses.
Key Words
    membrane distillation; geothermal water; desalination
West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Institute of Chemical Technology and Environment Engineering, ul. Pulaskiego 10, 70-322 Szczecin, Poland

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