Economic Assessment of a Multistage Surface-Heated Vacuum Membrane Distillation Process for the Treatment of Hypersaline Produced Water: Article No. 117648

Michael Heeley, Yiming Liu, Jingbo Wang, Federico Municchi, Jincheng Lou, Mark Dudley, Mustafa Kaddoura, Eric Hoek, Nils Tilton, Craig Turchi, Tzahi Cath, David Jassby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The treatment and disposal of hypersaline produced water remains a challenge, particularly for oil and gas producers in the Permian basin where production wells generate significant amounts of wastewater, and the traditional method of injecting wastewater into disposal wells is coming under increasing scrutiny. Here we investigate the viability of using solar energy to power a multi-stage, surface heated, vacuum membrane distillation (SHVMD) with energy recovery to treat hypersaline produced wastewater from Midland, Texas. Membrane distillation is a process that can desalinate waters with high total dissolved solids concentration, and when incorporated into a system with surface heating and energy recovery can achieve high water recovery rates. Model results show that a 6-stage SHVMD system with a 54.4% water recovery rate and a gained output ratio (GOR) of 3.28 has the potential to be economically viable when used to treat hypersaline produced water in the Permian basin. Assuming energy costs of $0.03/kWhthermaland $0.12kWhelectric, we estimate a project net present value (NPV) of $225,525 and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 13.5% when an air cooled condensor is used to cool the distillate and a NPV of $570,791 and IRR of 24.52% when a liquid cooling source is available.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages8
JournalDesalination
Volume582
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-89770

Keywords

  • brine
  • economic assessment
  • membrane distillation
  • multi-stage distillation
  • surface heating
  • water recovery

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