Optimal design of thermal membrane distillation systems with heat integration with process plants Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This paper presents an optimization approach for the design of thermal membrane distillation (TMD) systems that are thermally coupled with processing facilities. A superstructure representation and an optimization formulation are introduced to obtain simultaneously the optimization of the TMD unit and the heat-exchange network (HEN) that integrates heating and cooling in the process facility. The superstructure and associated optimization formulation seek to identify the system configuration along with design and operating variables such as heat-exchanger areas, membrane area, extent of thermal coupling between the process and TMD, and the TMD feed-preheating temperature. The objective function maximizes the net annual profit which accounts for the revenues from the sales of purified water, the avoided cost of the treated wastewater, and the total annualized costs accounting for the capital investment of the added heat transfer units and the TMD network, the operating costs for the heating and cooling utilities and the operating expenses for the TMD system. The proposed optimization formulation is applied to a case study where a TMD system is integrated with a methanol plant and the results show significant economic benefits for the implementation of the proposed methodology.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Gonzalez-Bravo, R., Elsayed, N. A., Maria Ponce-Ortega, J., Napoles-Rivera, F., & El-Halwagi, M. M.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • González-Bravo, Ramón||Elsayed, Nesreen A||Ponce-Ortega, José María||Nápoles-Rivera, Fabricio||El-Halwagi, Mahmoud M

publication date

  • January 2015