Operation and Evaluation of Memstill Pilot Plant
MEMSTILL® is a new desalination technology based on membrane distillation, developed by a consortium which includes TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) and Keppel Seghers Belgium N.V. (formerly known as Seghers Keppel Technology N.V.), a wholly owned subsidiary of Keppel Integrated Engineering Ltd. Operational costs for the production of desalinated water with MEMSTILL® are expected to be lower than currently available desalination technology on the market.
Membrane distillation technology is being actively researched as a cheaper alternative to conventional RO desalination process. It utilises low grade waste steam / heat from power stations, refuse incineration plants and other heat generating plants to produce near-distilled water from seawater through a vaporization and condensation process. A microfiltration type membrane provides the barrier for only water vapour to pass through. This is unlike the current conventional RO approach of “pushing” water through a membrane.
The technology was first tested at bench scale and then with a 2m3/d pilot plant testing at Senoko Refuse Incineration Plant from February 2006 to June 2007. This demonstrated the principle of MEMSTILL® on a pilot scale, and sustainable operation of the M26 type MEMSTILL® module. The upscaling of 3 m2 (membrane area) bench scale to 600 m2 proved that the integrity of membrane modules remained well and no severe leakage was observed. The distillate quality was superior throughout the pilot plant study period.
Future study will address some issues discovered during this pilot study regarding pre-treatment, heat recovery, etc. The MEMSTILL® Singapore pilot also pointed out certain areas for improvement to meet commercialization requirements. A second MEMSTILL® pilot in the Netherlands (E.ON pilot) was carried out with improved material and configurations, and was able to demonstrate up to 10X better results (e.g. flux, intake flow, distillate flow, energy efficiency, heat input) than the Singapore pilot. A third pilot with further improvements is being tested out in AVR, the Netherlands. Keppel Seghers intends to build a MEMSTILL®demonstration plant in Singapore to further develop and commercialize the technology.
MEMSTILL® pilot plant at Senoko Refuse Incineration Plant
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