An industrial pilot plant developed by the Stuttgart-based auto supplier, Mahle Industriefiltration GmbH, as part of research with the University of Technology in Hamburg (TUHH) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), went into operation Sunday (May 7) aboard an NSB container ship. The procedure for fresh-water production using membrane distillation is to be tested in real conditions over the next months.
Membrane distillation in industry
Andrea Hagedorn, a representative of the Institute for Process and System Technologies at TUHH, will spend three weeks aboard the MSC Texas monitoring the research project. Membrane procedures are nothing new and well-known, functional textiles also use microporous membranes. However, Hagedorn noted: “So far, procedures using the membrane distillation principle have not been used extensively in industry. Yet the procedure can be used in a broad range of applications and is not limited solely to desalination.”
Two patent applications
During the project, now in its fourth year, extensive tests have been carried out at the TUHH and in a long-term field trial on Helgoland. The TUHH is also working on further developing the procedure in co-operation with the Institute for Water Resources and Water Supply and the Institute for Electric Energy Systems and Automation. The procedure will be tested from an economic perspective in continuous operations until October 2016. Two German patent applications have already resulted from the project, according to TUHH.
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