The development of small to medium size, autonomous and robust desalination units is needed to establish an independent water supply in remote areas. This is the motivation for research on alternative desalination processes. Membrane distillation (MD) seems to meet the specific requirements very well. This work is focused on experimental studies on full scale demonstration systems, utilizing a parallel multi MD-module setup. Three different plant concepts are introduced, one of them is waste heat driven and two of them are powered by solar thermal collectors. Design parameters and system design are presented. After the analysis of plant operation a comparison among the plants as well as a comparison with laboratory experiments is carried out and discussed. Impact of different feed flow rates, salinities, operating hours and process temperatures are taken into consideration and put into relation. GOR values and specific thermal heat demand are derived and compared. Energy balances of all three plants are given, uncovering heat losses and identifying room for improvement.
• Complete system designs of two solar powered and one waste heat driven MD plants are presented.
• Analysis (graphical) of operational data
• Energy balances with losses and comparison• Comparison with laboratory statistics
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