Membrane module development for water recovery from humid gas
Over the past 5 years, South Africa has been experiencing a severe drought. This has caused industrial and agricultural processes, to compete for a limited supply of water. Since the economy relies mostly on agricultural activities, water consumption by industrial processes is taking its toll. One of these processes is the introduction of wet flue gas desulphurization (FGD) treatment at Eskom coal fired power stations. This dissertation explores the possibility of using membrane technology as a means of water recovery after the coal combustion flue gas has been treated with wet FGD. A lab-scale permeance testing system was specially built and modified to have complete thermal control of the environment inside the system. The permeance testing system produced a gas, similar to that of a wet FGD treated flue gas, which was then tested. A tubular lab-scale membrane module was designed and produced for the permeance testing system. The permeance figures of both Nitrogen gas and water vapour were determined for the membrane used in module production. These figures coincided with figures provided by the supplier, which warranted successful permeance testing. After success of the lab-scale testing, the data was used to design and develop a pilot-scale membrane module. This module was designed to meet pre-determined requirements as set forth by the project team. Producing lab-scale membrane modules helped identify and address possible problems in pilot-scale module design. This lead to the successful design and construction of a pilot-scale membrane module that could be used to recover the water that is needed to run the wet FGD process.