Electrically conductive membrane distillation via an alternating current operation for zero liquid discharge

Junghyun Kim, Leonard Tijing, Ho Kyong Shon, Seungkwan Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Membrane distillation (MD) shows promise for achieving high salinity treatment and zero liquid discharge (ZLD) compared to conventional water treatment processes due to its unique characteristics, including low energy consumption and high resulting water quality. However, performance degradation due to fouling and scaling under high recovery conditions remains a challenge, particularly considering the need to control both cations and anions for maximum scaling mitigation. Accordingly, in this study, alternating current (AC) operation for electrically conductive membrane distillation (ECMD) is newly proposed, based on its potential for controlling both cations and anions, in contrast to conventional direct current (DC) operation. Systematic experiments and theoretical analysis show that water recovery in ECMD can be increased by 27% through AC operation. The proposed modification and effective AC operation of ECMD increase the practicality of using MD in desalination for a high recovery rate, perhaps even for ZLD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120510
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Alternating current operation
  • Electrically conductive membrane (ECM)
  • Inorganic scaling mitigation
  • Membrane distillation (MD)
  • Zero liquid discharge (ZLD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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