Research Triangle Institute - Research Triangle Park, NC

A single hybrid system for industrial wastewater treatment and reuse that combines two known processes—forward osmosis and membrane distillation—was developed and demonstrated. This system, which is powered by waste heat, can be used to treat wastewater with high total dissolved solids (TDS) content that is currently being disposed. Based on current industrial wastewater practices and preliminary analysis, this technology has the potential to enable beneficial utilization of approximately 1,900 trillion Btu of waste heat annually, reduce energy costs associated with advanced wastewater treatment by up to $3.8 billion annually, and increase water recovery rate by approximately 67%.