Membrane Distillation Driven by Embedded Thermoelectric Heat Pump
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Membrane distillation is a method that recovers clean water from dirty water by way of the vapor pressure difference of water across a membrane. External systems typically provide the heat necessary to maintain the vapor pressure difference by warming the feed stream and cooling the permeate stream. These external systems can be of significant mass and can have large thermal losses that are not desirable for space missions. To address the issue, we propose embedding thermoelectric Peltier devices at the membrane surface. The thermoelectrics, acting as heat pumps, provide heating of the warm feed while at the same time cooling of the cold permeate at the membrane surface, thereby eliminating the need for external heating and cooling systems. This paper describes our research and findings for this new method of membrane distillation.