Performance Testing of a New Membrane Evaporator for the Thermoelectric Integrated Membrane Evaporator System (TIMES) Water Processor
The TIMES system was evaluated to determine its ability to process reverse osmosis (RO) brine as one of the Advanced Water Processor steps. Since preliminary testing performed in 1998 showed that the membrane typically used in the process (Nafion 117) offered a very poor ammonia rejection, a search for an alternate membrane exhibiting high ammonia rejection capability was initiated under NASA-JSC funding. This investigation has resulted in the selection of a PolyVinylAlcohol (PVA) composite membrane as a replacement. When processing RO brine and untreated human urine as feeds, the Pervap 2201 membrane showed a 96% ammonia rejection over a large range of ammonia concentration. The water permeation rates in both laboratory-scale and pilot scale testings were also similar to the Nafion. The water permeance of the Pervap 2201 was approximately 7.5 kg/h/m2/atm (1.1 lb/h/m2/psi).