I-Corps: Vacuum Distillation and Desalination for Wastewater Treatment

Project: Research project

Project Details


The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is the potential development of a vacuum distillation technology for the extraction of condensable liquids from wastewater leading to a possible significant volume reduction and concentration in wastewater residue, which can then be used for follow-up residue treatments in wastewater cleansing. The technology may also recycle important non-condensable gases such as methane and carbon dioxide and can be highly compact, simply structured without any moving or replaceable parts, and operated without high-power requirements. The system can be low-cost in design and operation and can be scaled up or down with high mobility for applications in hard-to-access or extremely isolated areas.This I-Corps project is based on the development of technology for the extraction of condensable liquids out of wastewaters that would be otherwise difficult to separate using commercially available distillation. Generally, wastewater contains various substances such as dissolved minerals, metals, salts (that can precipitate on solid surfaces of vaporization), corrosive liquids, and/or chemically active gases (that damage fragile materials such as membranes and metals), and suspended micron-sized hydrosols (oils and solids). The current commercially available distillation technologies including membrane distillation and thermal distillation can have limitations in dealing with these substances in wastewaters. The potential technology could overcome some of the difficulties with current methods. The core innovation of this technology includes spray flash vaporization with active-vacuum extraction to allow for an intensified vaporization process in a highly compacted system. The innovation is membrane-free and has no solid surface of vaporization which could save material and effectively avoid surface scaling or blockage.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date6/15/225/31/23


  • National Science Foundation: $50,000.00


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