Membrane-distillation patent awarded to NJIT professor

A researcher at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) has been awarded a patent for direct-contact and vacuum membrane distillation technology.

NJIT announced on 2 May 2012 that its professor of chemical engineering, Kamalesh K Sirkar, had been awarded a patent for his water desalination technology Desalination Devices and Systems Using Porous Hydrophobic Hollow Fibers and Hydrophobic Porous Coatings (US Patent Number 8,167,143).

In his research and pilot plant studies, says the institute, Sirkar has achieved extraordinarily high water vapor fluxes and stable performances from brines with salt concentrations of over 20%.

This technology has been used successfully to treat seawater collected near the discharge from a nuclear power plant and liquid animal wastes. Additional investigations on other systems are ongoing.

The design is claimed to be robust in terms of handling scaling salts. Membrane distillation can utilize waste heat from a variety of sources, prevent thermal pollution and operate at essentially atmospheric pressure.