Energy efficiency of permeate gap and novel conductive gap membrane distillation

Jaichander Swaminathan, Hyung Won Chung, David M. Warsinger, Faisal A. AlMarzooqi, Hassan A. Arafat, John H. Lienhard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


This work presents numerical modeling results and flux experiments for a novel membrane distillation configuration called conductive gap membrane distillation (CGMD), as well as permeate gap membrane distillation (PGMD). CGMD has a conductive spacer in the gap between the membrane and condensing surface rather than more commonly used insulating materials. Flux measurements with two experimental systems are used to validate the numerical models for PGMD and CGMD. PGMD has 20% higher GOR (energy efficiency) than an air gap membrane distillation (AGMD) system of the same size, whereas CGMD can have two times higher GOR than even PGMD. Increasing gap effective thermal conductivity in CGMD has negligible benefits beyond ≈10. W/m. K under the conditions of this study. The direction of pure water flow in the gap has a significant influence on overall system energy efficiency, especially in the case of CGMD. Using a countercurrent configuration for the pure water flow in the gap relative to the cold stream leads to 40% higher GOR than flow cocurrent with the cold water stream.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2016


  • Conductive gap
  • Energy efficiency
  • Membrane distillation
  • Permeate gap


Dive into the research topics of 'Energy efficiency of permeate gap and novel conductive gap membrane distillation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this