Qatar researchers trial membrane distillation system
Researchers at Qatar University College of Engineering, in collaboration with a team from petrochemical giant, ConocoPhillips' Global Water Sustainability Centre, have developed low- carbon desalination technology, membrane distillation.According to a report in business publication, The Worldfolio, the researchers, in partnership with Qatar Water and Electricity Company (QEWC) - have commissioned a membrane distillation test plant at QEWC's Ras Bou Fantas power and desalination facility. The process uses a hydrophobic membrane to separate vapour from a saline feed water at temperatures below 80ºC and low pressure.
Early results, The Worldfolio reported, have indicated a need to improve the membrane's characteristics for long-term deployment, the researchers have reported. They have highlighted also a need for greater exploitation of sources of low-grade heat such as those found in association with chemical processes.
The research is led by CENG professor of chemical engineering, Dr Farid Benyahia. The project was supported by Qatar University and funded by ConocoPhillips.
It is part of an agreement signed in October 2011 between Qatar University and the Global Water Sustainability Centre, aimed at helping the university to build capacity in research in membrane distillation.