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Comment Water Treatment

Harnessing the Joule-Thomson effect for treating wastewater with high salinity

By Paul Grad |

A thermal-membrane process system, based on the Joule-Thompson effect (JTE) for treating wastewater with high salinity or with a high-level of inorganic contents has been developed by Thermosift Engineering Pvt. Ltd. (Asaripallam, Tamil Nadu, India; www.thermosift.com). The system operates at relatively low pressure and temperature compared with the conventional thermal-based separation processes. Other advantages are a very high water recovery at a minimum energy consumption, small footprint and minimum capital cost compared with the conventional thermal separation systems, says the company.

Called TS-30, the system is capable of producing up to 30 L of water per square meter of membrane. The company has also developed the Stomat vapor-transfer membrane for high strength industrial effluent treatment, desalination and heat- and mass-transfer processes.

The TS-30 system uses the microporous Stomat membrane as a JTE “throttling device,” which functions as the porous plug or the expansion valve. This JTE process helps increase the mass transfer due to heat loss and the company’s product design helps to recover the heat, which in turn improves the thermal efficiency of the entire TS-30 system.

Recently, the company successfully completed a test run of its TS-30 system for treating the salty effluent of a hydrometallurgical process with a European partner. The system helped treat the highly saline (total dissolved solids of 35,000 to 350,000 parts per million) water and recover valuable inorganic salt from the process.

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