Document Type : Research Paper
CSIRO Manufacturing, Private bag 33, Clayton South MDC, Victoria 3169, Australia
Institute of Sustainability and Innovation, College of Engineering and Science, Victoria University, PO Box 14428, Melbourne, Victoria 8001, Australia
Memcor Products, Evoqua Water Technologies, 15 Blackman Crescent, South Windsor, New South Wales, 2756, Australia
The energy requirement of vacuum membrane distillation (VMD) with or without recirculation was modelled using both experimental results and theoretical data. The trends are generally consistent between the theoretical and experimental data. Thermal energy contributes the most to the total energy required for the VMD process. To lower the thermal energy cost, waste heat resource and heat recovery of latent heat from the permeate vapour are needed. The electrical energy consumption for VMD is slightly higher than brackish water reverse osmosis (RO) but lower than sea water RO. It is generally more energy efficient to operate the VMD in recirculation mode than single pass mode. Process engineering modelling results indicate that VMD may not be able to compete with RO directly but could be used as a complimentary process to RO, such as for brine concentrate treatment.