MIT SoE — Lord Foundation Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Energy Efficient Water Desalination Through Conductive Gap Membrane Distillation
Membrane distillation (MD) is a method of desalinating water that uses heat as the energy input. MD has many advantages over other methods of desalination, namely, a relatively high resistance to membrane scaling, the ability to desalinate contaminated and extremely concentrated salt water, and the benefit that an MD system can be powered by many sources of heat (e.g. waste heat from power plants, geothermal heat, concentrated solar rays, etc.). The main drawback of MD is its relatively low energy efficiency. This work will focus on the development and implementation of a novel MD configuration, conductive gap membrane distillation, which numerical models predict to have an efficiency comparable to that of the current state-of-the-art desalination systems
I became very interested in thermal-fluid systems after taking 2.005 and 2.006. This UROP has given me the chance to explore both of those interests in an area which I find to be very meaningful. Given the current population growth and climate warming trends, finding efficient and sustainable methods of desalinating ocean water is imperative to preventing massive worldwide water shortages.