You are on page 1of 10

Uncorrected Proof

1 © IWA Publishing 2018 Water Science & Technology: Water Supply | in press | 2018

Employing full factorial design and response surface


methodology for optimizing direct contact membrane
distillation operational conditions in desalinating the
rejected stream of a reverse osmosis unit at Esfahan
refinery-IRAN
M. Ebadi, M. R. Mozdianfard and M. Aliabadi

ABSTRACT

Optimized condition for desalination of the reverse osmosis (RO)rejected stream from Esfahan Oil M. Ebadi
M. R. Mozdianfard (corresponding author)
Refining Company (EORC) using direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) with Chemical Engineering Dep., Water, Environment
and Sustainable Development lab.,
polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane was investigated here, having designed a set of 34 University of Kashan,
Kashan,
experiments using response surface methodology (RSM) and full factorial design (FFD) modelling, Iran
carried out in a laboratory scale set-up built for this purpose. Statistical criteria for validation, E-mail: mozdianfard@kashanu.ac.ir

significance, accuracy and adequacy confirmed the suitability of the quadratic polynomial model M. Aliabadi
Chemical Engineering Dep.,
employed. Response plots and regression equations suggested that the permeate flux response Islamic Azad University, Birjand Branch,
Birjand,
improved with increased feed temperature, reduced permeate temperature and enhanced feed flow
IRAN
rate. Optimizing DCMD process showed that maximum permeate flux of 60.76 L/m2·h could be
achieved at the following optimum operational conditions: feed temperature and flow rate of 70  C
and 2 L/min, respectively, as well as the permeate temperature of 15  C. At this point the mean
annual energy required for 90% water recovery (36 m3/h off the RO brackish rejected stream) at EORC
refinery was found to be 96GJ, which could be supplied using solar or conventional energy systems
at Isfahan, facing a very critical water shortage at present.
Key words | desalination, direct contact membrane distillation, full factorial design,
polytetrafluoroethylene, response surface methodology

INTRODUCTION

Water is essential in any crude oil refining process, and as envisaged at the time and hence, little attention was paid
such, its recovery has become paramount due to the ever to its recovery in the original design, evidenced by numerous
increasing demand, environmental concerns and the need large evaporation ponds built at the site.
for sustainable development in petroleum industry. Where EORC is an important refinery at the center of Iran and
water shortages become critical, as is the case in central is situated 25 km northwest of the historical city of Isfahan,
Iran, there is great pressure by public and local authorities based on a German-US joint venture design prepared by
on facilities like EORC (Esfahan Oil Refining Company), Thyssen-Fluor for 200,000 bpd crude oil refining capacity,
to recover utmost the consumed water. EORC started oper- and operated at excess capacity of 375,000 bpd since early
ation nearly 4 decades ago, when water shortage was not 19800 s due to Iran-Iraq war. It has played a vital role in

doi: 10.2166/ws.2018.094
Uncorrected Proof
2 M. Ebadi et al. | FFD/RSM for optimizing DCMD in desalinating RO effluent at EORC Water Science & Technology: Water Supply | in press | 2018

producing up to 25% of the nation’s petroleum products investment capital required, etc.. Membrane distillation
ever since. (MD) on the other hand offers advantages for such appli-
Isfahan province on the other hand, is amongst the cation in a refinery like mild operating conditions and
world’s most water stressed region in the Middle East and high rejection factor (high water recovery).
has faced water scarcity as the annual water supply is Direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) is a ther-
900 m3 per person, which is below the 1,000 m3 Falkenmark mally driven microfiltration process in which water vapor
indicator threshold (Rijsberman ). Development of high molecules are allowed to pass through a porous hydro-
water consuming heavy industries such as steel, petroleum phobic membrane, using their vapor pressure gradient. In
refining and petrochemicals as well as 8,500 other units its quest for maximum water reclamation at EORC, appli-
has intensified water scarcity in the region by consuming cation of DCMD was investigated as a promising
188 million m3 per annum in 2014 by these industries and technology (Ramlow et al. ). In fact, DCMD is one of
3
this is expected to reach 471 million m per annum by the four main configurations in membrane distillation; the
2031 (of which 258 million m3 by steel, oil and petrochem- others include air gap membrane distillation (AGMD),
3
icals), thereby imposing a 1.0 billion m shortage annually sweeping gas membrane distillation (SGMD) and vacuum
(Torkashvand ). Hence, in 2005, heavily lobbied devel- membrane distillation (VMD). Attractive features of these
opment plan to double the EORC’s present capacity was technologies include: low operating temperatures and press-
blocked and stopped by the local department of environ- ures, cost effective membranes that are less prone to
ment office amidst construction phase, based on recent corrosion, combination with other processes such as UF
laws, prohibiting industrial development within 50 km of (ultrafiltration) and RO units, and utilizing alternative
the city of Isfahan. energy sources. The drawbacks include: low permeate flux,
3
At EORC, there is a 90 m /h wastewater originated from feed conditions dependency (concentration and tempera-
crude oil desalting unit, sour water process, cooling towers, ture) and considerable conduction heat losses. In DCMD,
wastewater streams and the effluent from the reverse osmo- hot feed is in direct contact with hot membrane surface,
sis (RO) unit. The 350 m3/h capacity RO unit, produces thereby allowing evaporation of volatile molecules to be
3
40 m /h brackish water which is transferred directly to moved to the permeate side and condensed inside the
ponds No. 5 and 6, two out of ten (400 m × 100 m) evapor- module by the corresponding induced vapor pressure differ-
ation ponds at the refinery site (see Figure 1). ence (Alkhudhiri et al. ). DCMD technology has been
Various experimental and industrial methods have been used in various applications such as: desalination (Hou
suggested for maximum water recovery from the RO et al. a), separation and purification (Hou et al. b;
rejected stream, most of which associated with drawbacks Kesieme et al. ), crystallization (Quist-Jensen et al.
including large land required, low productivity, high b), fruit juice concentration and separations in food
industry (Quist-Jensen et al. a), production of chemicals
(Tomaszewska & Łapin ) etc.
In assessing DCMD application for treatment of the RO
rejected stream at EORC, one is faced with many operating
parameters which influence its performance. Evaluating
these is difficult using traditional approach in which one
independent variable is studied while others are kept con-
stant, as this would lead to excessive number of tests, long
experimentation time and high costs, irrespective of the
fact that interactions between these influential parameters
are often ignored in such approaches. Modern statistical
methods such as design of experiments (DoE) and response
Figure 1 | Evaporation pond No. 5, one of RO unit effluent receiver at EORC. surface methodology (RSM), have been employed with great
Uncorrected Proof
3 M. Ebadi et al. | FFD/RSM for optimizing DCMD in desalinating RO effluent at EORC Water Science & Technology: Water Supply | in press | 2018

success in determining the most influential parameters of a only 2% deviation from the predicted one (Khayet et al.
process and prediction of its performance by means of fac- ). Full factorial design (FFD) was also employed at two
torial design and mathematical modeling. In these levels in studying influential parameters affecting two
methods, all significant parameters vary simultaneously in responses of evaporation flux and soluble solid content in
a set of experiments. a process involving apple juice concentration (Onsekizoglu
RSM, developed by Box and Wilson in 1951, uses a et al. ). The models were attained using the independent
second degree polynomial equation to propose an optimized variables of osmotic agent concentration, flow rate and
response of interest influenced by several variables (Myers temperature difference between feed and osmotic agent.
et al. ). Although RSM is widely used in many research In this work, three main aims are pursued: a) presenting
studies (Bezerra et al. ; Gangil & Pradhan ), limited a mathematical correlation for feed temperature and flow
works are reported in the literature on its use in various rate and permeate temperature as a function of permeate
modes of membrane distillation. Khayet et al. , used RSM flux, b) validating the model by comparing the predicted
for effective optimization and prediction of permeate flux and empirical results, c) compute and prediction of a set
in a DCMD operation, involving NaCl solution as feed, of operational condition in determining a specific permeate
having considered NaCl concentration, feed temperature flux in the DCMD application.
and mixing velocity as independent variables (Khayet et al.
). Boubakri et al. employed RSM in a similar DCMD
optimization operation, but used independent factors of METHODS
vapor pressure difference, feed flow rate, permeate flow
rate and feed ionic strength at five levels with 3.9% deviation Experimental
in mean experimental and predicted results (Boubakri et al.
). In a different SGMD application involving prediction Figure 2 illustrates the set-up built for the DCMD exper-
of sucrose permeate flux, 2nd order polynomials were suc- iments for this study. The flat sheet membrane modulus
cessfully employed by Cojocora & Khayet (Cojocaru & was made from 316 stainless steel. Feed and permeate
Khayet ). The same authors reported using both DoE sides were recirculated using a peristaltic pumps (Longer
and RSM in an AGMD application (Khayet & Cojocaru Pump Model: WT600-2 J), with their temperatures being
). In another different SGMD application, Khayet et al. controlled (using an ATBIN NOVA) and illustrated on indi-
used both DoE and RSM, with independent controlling vari- vidual indicators.
ables being temperatures and flow rates of liquid and gas For measuring total dissolved solids, an on-line TDS
phases, and noted that the optimum permeate flux showed meter (Model: TDS-230, CREATE Co. Korea) was used in

Figure 2 | Schematics of set-up built and used for DCMD experiments.


Uncorrected Proof
4 M. Ebadi et al. | FFD/RSM for optimizing DCMD in desalinating RO effluent at EORC Water Science & Technology: Water Supply | in press | 2018

the permeate side, while flows were measured using rota- Design type, ‘3-level factorial’ was chosen using three
meters. The feed container was made from steel to avoid ‘numeric factors’. Considering the industrial application of
corrosion and associated impurities, while being heated up this study, assessable operation parameters need to be
directly using an electrical controlled heater. selected as independent variables. Having, three parameters
   
Brackish water effluent (Table 1) was supplied from the of feed temperature Tf , feed flow rate Qf and permeate
 
RO unit at EORC refinery and used as feed to the set-up. temperature Tp introduced as independent variables,
Microporous PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) mem- with permeate flux ðJw Þ taken as their corresponding
branes with PP (polypropylene) substrate used in the response, a set of 32 tests were proposed by the software.
experimental set-up was provided from a commercial local Following the accomplishment of these experiments, the
supplier (Iran Membrane Co.) and used as purchased. empirical data for Jw were entered into the software and
Table 2 lists the membrane characteristics. run subsequently. It is worth noting that optimization
Following design, fabrication and testing the set-up, a could be achieved using the DE program. At this stage, a
flat membrane module providing 80 cm2 effective area was quadratic equation was proposed to correlate independent
designed and built from stainless steel SS-316. variables and their corresponding response as follows:

X X X
Y ¼ b0 þ bi Xi þ bii X2i þ bij Xi Xj (1)
Design of experiments
i i ij

Using DE 7.1.5 software for modelling, the ‘miscellaneous’ Here, Y refers to the response variable, b0 is a constant
item was selected from the ‘response surface’ menu. For coefficient, bi ’s are the coefficients, bii ’s are the quadratic
coefficients, bij ’s are the interaction coefficients and Xi ,
Xj refer to the coded values of the independent variables.
Table 1 | Composition of RO brackish water at EORC refinery
Considering the aforementioned variables, Equation (1)
Parameters Units Value may be rewritten as:
pH – 7.25
TDS mg/L 4,700 Y ¼ b0 þ b1 X1 þ b2 X2 þ b3 X3 þ b11 X21 þ b22 X22 þ b33 X23
conductivity ðμs=cmÞ 8,400 þ b12 X1 X2 þ b13 X1 X3 þ b23 X2 X3 (2)
Total hardness mg/L 3,200
Total alkalinity mg/L 100 Coded variables of X1 , X2 , and X3 denote feed temp-
Chlorides mg/L 780 erature, permeate temperature and feed flow rate here,
Calcium mg/L 1,940 respectively, while Y denotes the permeate flux. Exper-
Magnesium mg/L 1,260 imental conditions and independent variable levels are
Sodium mg/L 1,020 described in Tables 3, while FFD experimental matrix
and response values are reported in Table 4.

Table 2 | Properties of commercial PTFE membrane used in this study

Table 3 | Coded and actual values of full factorial designed variables


Item Unit Value

Membrane – PTFE Actual value of coded


level
Substrate – PP
Pore Size ðμmÞ 0:45 Factor Symbol 1 0 1


Thickness ðμmÞ 180 ± 10 Feed Temperature ( C) X1 50 60 70
Bubble point in IPA ðMPAÞ 0:08  0:14 Permeate temperature ( C) X2 15 25 35
 3 2 
Air Perm m =m  h 500  800 Feed Flow Rate (L/min) X3 1 1.5 2
Uncorrected Proof
5 M. Ebadi et al. | FFD/RSM for optimizing DCMD in desalinating RO effluent at EORC Water Science & Technology: Water Supply | in press | 2018

Table 4 | Full factorial design of experiments and output DCMD responses RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
 
L
Factors Jw
m2 h
RSM regression model equation
Run Tf ðX1 Þ T p ð X2 Þ Qf ðX3 Þ Actual Predicted

1 1 1 1 19.06 19.17 As can be seen in Table 4, both experimental and predicted


2 0 1 1 30.13 28.99 DCMD permeate fluxes conform well, justifying further stat-
3 þ1 1 1 42.69 43.89 istical analysis to be carried out.
4 1 0 1 14.19 15 The equation describing permeate flux in L/m2·h as
5 0 0 1 25 23.76 functions of coded variables for the model employed may
6 þ1 0 1 40.56 37.6 be written as:
7 1 þ1 1 8.88 10.98
8 0 þ1 1 19.25 18.67 Jw ¼ 28:18 þ 13:31X1  5:60X2 þ 5:98X3 þ 2:51X21
9 þ1 þ1 1 29.75 31.45
þ 0:043X22 þ 1:60X23  1:06X1 X2 þ 2:01X1 X3  0:45X2 X3
10 1 1 0 22.06 21.95
(3)
11 0 1 0 30.94 33.78
12 þ1 1 0 51.5 50.7
13 1 0 0 20.56 17.34 Rearranging Equation (3) based on the actual variables
14 0 0 0 27.56 28.11 obtained in this work yields:
15 þ1 0 0 42 43.96
16 1 þ1 0 14.13 12.87 Jw ¼ 66:34290  2:02065Tf þ 0:18998Tp  29:07458Qf
17 0 þ1 0 25.94 22.58 þ 0:025117Tf2 þ 4:29624 × 104 Tp2 þ 6:38018Q2p
18 þ1 þ1 0 36.94 37.36  0:010625Tf Tp þ 0:40208Tf Qf  0:089583Tp Qf (4)
19 1 1 þ1 27.81 27.99
20 0 1 þ1 41.88 41.83
21 þ1 1 þ1 63 60.76
22 1 0 þ1 24.69 22.93 Analysis of variance
23 0 0 þ1 33.69 35.71
24 þ1 0 þ1 52.69 53.57 Statistical significance evaluated by the estimators in
25 1 þ1 þ1 14.88 18.01 ANOVA (see Table 5), reflects the quality and effectiveness
26 0 þ1 þ1 31.75 29.73 of the model. P-value of less than 0.0001 and F-value of
27 þ1 þ1 þ1 46.69 46.53 127.55 confirms that the model is highly significant, as evi-
28 0 0 0 27.44 28.11 denced by the close fit of predicted and actual response
29 0 0 0 27.06 28.11 values in Table 4.
30 0 0 0 27.81 28.11 Proportion of variation in the permeate flux, reflected by
31 0 0 0 27.19 28.11 the R2 value and attributed for the proposed regression
32 0 0 0 28.06 28.11 model, should be as close to 1.0 as possible. Here, 0.9812
value for R2 indicates that 98.12% of the deviation can be
explained by the empirical model, reaffirming the model’s
As for the model validation, three statistical criteria’s of significance. Adjusted R2 however, evaluates the model ade-
F-value, P-value and diagnostic plots were employed in the quacy based on the number of terms used in the model. In
analysis of variance (ANOVA), as discussed below. Fitting other words, adjusted R2 of 97.35% reflects on the percen-
the polynomial model to the experimental results was tage variation by only the independent variables that
2
assessed by R (the coefficient of determination) and actually affect the response, indicating a highly correlated
adjusted R2. experimental and predicted data.
Uncorrected Proof
6 M. Ebadi et al. | FFD/RSM for optimizing DCMD in desalinating RO effluent at EORC Water Science & Technology: Water Supply | in press | 2018

Table 5 | Analysis of variance for the quadratic model using permeate flux as response by three dimensional response surface plots prepared from
the regression Equation (4), where the interaction of each
Source Model
variable is examined while the other is taken as fixed con-
Sum of Squares 4,549.25
stant at its respective zero level. Figure 4(a)–4(c) illustrate
df 9
such 3D permeate flux response surface plots for this
Mean Square 505.47
study, where variable interactions and their optimum level
F Value 127.55
for maximum response are examined.
p-value Prob > F <0.0001 Significant
Std. Dev. 1.99
Mean 30.49
C.V. % 6.53
PRESS 209.69
R-Squared 0.9812
Adj R-Squared 0.9735
Pred R-Squared 0.9548
Adeq Precision 44.730

Figure 3 compares predicted versus actual permeate flux


of the DCMD by plotting a regression line, where clearly a
close fit is observed. Statistical analysis presented above
shows that the model developed can predict and optimize
DCMD process with PTFE membrane for desalinating the
RO effluent at EORC refinery confidently, knowing that
the process is statistically validated over the experimen-
tation domain envisaged and the permeate flux response.

Variables interactions

Effective interactions of independent variables on the


permeate flux response, could be graphically represented

Figure 4 | Graphical illustration of variable interactions for the proposed DCMD desali-
Figure 3 | Experimental DCMD fluxes vs. predicted ones. nation at EORC refinery.
Uncorrected Proof
7 M. Ebadi et al. | FFD/RSM for optimizing DCMD in desalinating RO effluent at EORC Water Science & Technology: Water Supply | in press | 2018

The influences of permeate flux and feed flow rate at desirability. The operating conditions at this point are:
constant feed temperature on the response, as shown in 70  C feed temperature, 15  C permeate temperature and
Figure 4(a) indicate that increasing feed flow rate or decreas- 2 L/min feed flow rate. There was a 3.5% error in the maxi-
ing permeate temperature would lead to increased permeate mum response evaluated and that of the empirical one. This
flux, with the maximum permeate flux being evaluated at compared to about 0.9–1.2% in Khayet et al. study, and 3.9%
41.88 L/m2·h. On the other hand, Figure 4(b) indicates in the work of Boubakri et al. on DCMD structure, and 2.0%
that at constant permeate temperature, increased feed flow (SGMD) and 1.6% (AGMD) of Khayet et al. researches.
and temperature would improve the response with the maxi- Also, a minimum permeate flux response of 10.98 L/m2·h,
mum permeate flux being 52.69 L/m2·h. For constant feed with 0.961 desirability was attained at the operating con-
flow rate however (see Figure 4(c)), increased feed tempera- ditions of 50  C feed temperature, 35  C permeate
ture or decreased permeate temperature would enhance the temperature and 1 L/min feed flow rate.
response with the maximum permeate flux being An important feature of this modeling exercise is its abil-
51.50 L/m2·h. Therefore, as can be seen from Figure 4, the ity to predict a set of operating conditions (or working line)
most influential parameter on the permeate flux is the feed for a target response. Based on EORC needs, different scen-
temperature. The corresponding coefficient values associ- arios, could be examined with the respective results
ated with independent variables in Equation (3) also (optimum conditions, energy expenditure, etc) However,
confirms this with b1 ¼ 13:31 (the coefficient for the feed this requires access to operational management data and
temperature, X1 ), being nearly twice larger than those of strategies from the refinery which are not available at this
permeate temperature ðb2 ¼ 5:60Þ or feed flow rate stage, and should be carefully worked out in future studies.
ðb3 ¼ 5:98Þ. In general it could be said that if EORC aims to recycle a
The influence of feed temperature was investigated by predetermined permeate flux (or a range of it), considering
Khayet et al. () for 25.0, 37.5 and 50.0  C, which the climatic conditions and optimum energy consumption
showed that feed temperature rise had the highest influence at various seasons, once configured, the software could pro-
on the permeate flux. The present study also confirmed the vide various operating conditions for it. On the other hand,
same. As regards the influence of feed flow rate, Boubakri for practical purposes, a stable achievable permeate flux
et al. () tried five levels ranging from 62.4 to may be required at EORC which is expected to be less
2
73.6 L/m ·h and demonstrated that increasing the feed than the maximized optimum flux response. Extrapolating
flow rate would also lead to increased permeate flux, be it the independent variables could lead to diminished accu-
to a lesser extent compared to the feed temperature. racy of the model. However, interpolation carried out
Having tried larger feed flow rates, the same results was con- indicated that 70% of the maximum optimum flux (i.e.
cluded in this work, too. nearly 45 L/m2·h) might be a practical stable response,
arrived at through a set of working lines. Selecting the
Optimizing operational conditions for DCMD right point on this working line should be made based on
desalinating at EORC refinery the required climatic conditions, energy restrictions and
economic considerations. Figure 6 illustrates an exemplary
As expressed before, our main aim in this work was to deter- working line for the mentioned 70% response, which corre-
mine optimum DCMD operational conditions for sponds to 25  C permeate flux (see Figure 5(a)), 1.5 L/min
desalination of the RO effluent at EORC using PTFE mem- feed flow rate (see Figure 5(b)), and 69  C feed temperature
brane. Using a design expert (DE optimizer) software, we (see Figure 5(c)). Many other operational conditions were
can suggest the best process operating conditions having also proposed by the model for the 45 L/m2·h, which give
searched through the response surfaces and interaction vari- the operators far more flexibility in planning and reuse of
ables considering their main effects in the model global the DCMD desalinated water.
information. In this work, the optimum maximized perme- Climate is an important influential factor in selecting the
ate flux was found to be 60.76 L/m2·h with 0.959 operating conditions considering the energy issues. In
Uncorrected Proof
8 M. Ebadi et al. | FFD/RSM for optimizing DCMD in desalinating RO effluent at EORC Water Science & Technology: Water Supply | in press | 2018

operating conditions being 63  C and 15  C for feed and


permeate temperatures, respectively with the same
2.0 L/min feed flow rate yielding 46.83 L/m ·h permeate 2

flux response.
Considering the 40 m3/h mean effluent flow rate of the
brackish water from RO unit at EORC, and 90% recycling
requirement by the DCMD unit (i.e. 36 m3/h water recla-
mation), Table 6 shows the mean average monthly
temperature of the city of Isfahan (taken from the past 50
years national meteorological data) and the energy required
in MJ/h to bring the feed temperature to its corresponding
maximized optimum. The available energy sources at the
refinery include: low pressure (1.0 bar–48 ton/h, 4.0 bar–
320 ton/h) operational steam, flare gases and natural solar
energy (considering 215 sunny days per annum).
Low pressure operational steams are used elsewhere in
the refinery and no surplus energy may be allocated for prac-
tical and emergency reasons. Energy recovery from flares
have not yet become a realistic target at EORC, and much
more upgrading are necessary before it can be considered
as a viable option. As for application of solar system, it is
worth noting that heat requirement by any membrane distil-
lation may account for 90% total energy requirement and
this increases significantly with feed temperature for
DCMD. Solar renewable energy, despite its capital intensive
investment has been considered in the limited non-commer-
cial DCMD desalination studies available on the literature

Table 6 | Monthly mean temperature and energy required for rising the temperature up
to 70  C

Month Average temperature (C) Energy required (MJ/h)

January 2.2 9,966.6


February 5.2 9,525.6
March 9.8 8,849.4
April 15.1 8,070.3
May 20.4 7,291.2
Figure 5 | Working line for Jw ¼ 45L=m2 h at (a) Tp ¼ 25 C (b) Qf ¼ 1:5L=min (c) Tf ¼ 69 C.
June 25.3 6,570.9
July 28.2 6,144.6
summer, when working with maximum feed and permeate
August 26.8 6,350.4
temperatures are favorable, the maximized optimum perme-
September 22.8 6,938.4
ate flux was 46.53 L/m2·h, attained at 70  C feed
October 16.5 7,864.5
temperature, 35  C permeate flux and 2.0 L/min feed flow
November 9.9 8,834.7
rate. On the contrary, in winter working with the minimal
December 4.8 9,584.4
feed and permeate temperature are favorable, with the
Uncorrected Proof
9 M. Ebadi et al. | FFD/RSM for optimizing DCMD in desalinating RO effluent at EORC Water Science & Technology: Water Supply | in press | 2018

(Suárez et al. ; Kim et al. ; Shim et al. ). Com- off the RO effluent (36 m3/h), the variation of the climatic
pared to the heavily subsidized conventional energy costs condition at Isfahan, the annual energy required for this
in Iran, employing green energies such as solar systems hybrid DCMD desalination at EORC is 96GJ, which can
are not economically justified at present. However, consid- easily be attained from solar or conventional systems.
ering the latest corresponding price improvements on
fossil fuels, increased supportive policies for industrial
green energy system developments, restricted environmental ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
protection implementations, increased public awareness
and emphasis made by authorities on the sustainability of The authors gratefully acknowledge Research and
the oil industry, would most likely make such technological Development departments at EORC and ABFA (water and
improvements by DCMD and solar desalination economi- wastewater authorities) Kashan for their collaboration and
cally justifiable in near future. EORC could play a support.
proactive role in this approach, bearing in mind that there
are no technical hindrance, space limitation (due to large
REFERENCES
evaporation ponds being next to the RO unit), critical
water shortages and policies described above. Hence,
Alkhudhiri, A., Darwish, N. & Hilal, N.  Membrane
EORC could well decide on using fossil fuels for DCMD distillation: a comprehensive review. Desalination 287, 2–18.
heat requirement in the meantime. doi:10.1016/j.desal.2011.08.027.
Bezerra, M. A., Santelli, R. E., Oliveira, E. P., Villar, L. S. &
Escaleira, L. A.  Response surface methodology (RSM)
as a tool for optimization in analytical chemistry. Talanta 76,
CONCLUSIONS 965–977. doi:10.1016/j.talanta.2008.05.019.
Boubakri, A., Hafiane, A. & Bouguecha, S. a. T.  Application
Having faced a critical water shortage at EORC, application of response surface methodology for modeling and
optimization of membrane distillation desalination process.
of DCMD desalination on the brackish water off the RO unit
Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry 20, 3163–
was studied using a PTFE membrane. Determination of opti- 3169. doi:10.1016/j.jiec.2013.11.060.
mum operating conditions for the permeate flux was Cojocaru, C. & Khayet, M.  Sweeping gas membrane
investigated having designed the experiments with DE7.5.1 distillation of sucrose aqueous solutions: response surface
modeling and optimization. Separation and Purification
software (FFD) and using laboratory data obtained from a Technology 81, 12–24. doi:10.1016/j.seppur.2011.06.031.
DCMD set-up in which the real RO effluent was tested in Gangil, M. & Pradhan, M. K.  Modeling and Optimization of
34 experiments proposed, where independent parameters Electrical Discharge Machining Process Using RSM: A
Review. Materials Today: Proceedings. pp. 1752–1761.
of feed and temperatures as well as feed flow rate were
Hou, D. Y., Wang, J., Qu, D., Luan, Z. K., Zhao, C. W. & Ren, X. J.
selected for a dependent permeate flux parameter. Having a Desalination of brackish groundwater by direct contact
validated the results, RSM was used to optimize and predict membrane distillation. Water Science and Technology 61,
the operational conditions and their corresponding working 2013–2020. doi:10.2166/wst.2010.110.
Hou, D. Y., Wang, J., Wang, B. Q., Luan, Z. K., Sun, X. C. & Ren,
lines. R2 ¼ 0.9812 and adjusted R2 ¼ 0.9735 reflect the suit-
X. J. b Fluoride removal from brackish groundwater by
ability of calculated regression line equations fitting well direct contact membrane distillation. Water Science and
with the empirical data. Following optimization, the maxi- Technology 61, 3178–3187. doi:10.2166/wst.2010.878.
Kesieme, U. K., Milne, N., Cheng, C. Y., Aral, H. & Duke, M. 
mum permeate flux in the experimental domain
Recovery of water and acid from leach solutions using direct
investigated was found to be 60.76 L/m2·h (desirability ¼ contact membrane distillation. Water Science and
0.957), having the following operation conditions: feed Technology 69, 868–875. doi:10.2166/wst.2013.788.
temperature of 70  C, permeate temperature of 15  C and Khayet, M. & Cojocaru, C.  Air gap membrane distillation:
desalination, modeling and optimization. Desalination 287,
feed flow rate of 2 L/min. The error for the maximum
138–145. doi:10.1016/j.desal.2011.09.017.
empirical and predicted DCMD permeate flux was 3.5%. Khayet, M., Cojocaru, C. & García-Payo, C.  Application of
Considering 90% water reclamation of the brackish water response surface methodology and experimental design in direct
Uncorrected Proof
10 M. Ebadi et al. | FFD/RSM for optimizing DCMD in desalinating RO effluent at EORC Water Science & Technology: Water Supply | in press | 2018

contact membrane distillation. Industrial and Engineering Ramlow, H., Machado, R. a. F. & Marangoni, C.  Direct
Chemistry Research 46, 5673–5685. doi:10.1021/ie070446p. contact membrane distillation for textile wastewater
Khayet, M., Cojocaru, C. & Baroudi, A.  Modeling and treatment: a state of the art review. Water Science and
optimization of sweeping gas membrane distillation. Technology 76, 2565. doi:10.2166/wst.2017.449.
Desalination 287, 159–166. doi:10.1016/j.desal.2011.04.070. Rijsberman, F. R.  Water scarcity: fact or fiction? Agricultural
Kim, Y. D., Thu, K., Ghaffour, N. & Choon Ng, K.  Water Management 80, 5–22. doi:10.1016/j.agwat.2005.07.
Performance investigation of a solar-assisted direct contact 001.
membrane distillation system. Journal of Membrane Science Shim, W. G., He, K., Gray, S. & Moon, I. S.  Solar energy
427, 345–364. doi:10.1016/j.memsci.2012.10.008. assisted direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD)
Myers, R. H., Montgomery, D. C. & Anderson-Cook, C. M.  process for seawater desalination. Separation and
Response Surface Methodology: Process and Product Purification Technology 143, 94–104. doi:10.1016/j.seppur.
Optimization Using Designed Experiments. John Wiley & Sons. 2015.01.028.
Onsekizoglu, P., Savas Bahceci, K. & Acar, J.  The use of Suárez, F., Tyler, S. W. & Childress, A. E.  A theoretical study
factorial design for modeling membrane distillation. Journal of a direct contact membrane distillation system coupled to a
of Membrane Science 349, 225–230. doi:10.1016/j.memsci. salt-gradient solar pond for terminal lakes reclamation. Water
2009.11.049. Research 44, 4601–4615. doi:10.1016/j.watres.2010.05.050.
Quist-Jensen, C. A., Macedonio, F., Conidi, C., Cassano, A., Aljlil, Tomaszewska, M. & Łapin, A.  The influence of feed
S., Alharbi, O. A. & Drioli, E. a Direct contact membrane temperature and composition on the conversion of KCl into
distillation for the concentration of clarified orange juice. KHSO 4 in a membrane reactor combined with direct
Journal of Food Engineering 187, 37–43. doi:10.1016/j. contact membrane distillation. Separation and Purification
jfoodeng.2016.04.021. Technology 100, 59–65. doi:10.1016/j.seppur.2012.08.022.
Quist-Jensen, C. A., Macedonio, F. & Drioli, E. b Membrane Torkashvand, M.  Investigating Metods of Water Recovery
crystallization for salts recovery from brine – an experimental From Effluent of the Reverse Osmosis System at Esfahan
and theoretical analysis. Desalination and Water Treatment Refinery. M. S. Thesis, Department of Engineering, University
57, 7593–7603. doi:10.1080/19443994.2015.1030110. of Kashan, Kashan, I. R. Iran.

First received 11 January 2018; accepted in revised form 30 April 2018. Available online 10 May 2018