Electrospun nanofibrous membranes for membrane distillation application—A dynamic life cycle assessment (dLCA) approach

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Original languageEnglish
Article number120376
Journal / PublicationWater Research
Online published17 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


Membrane distillation for water desalination and purification has been gaining prominence to address the issues relating to water security and the destruction of aquatic ecosystems globally. Recent advances in the electrospun membranes for MD application have improved antifouling and anti-wetting performance. However, the environmental impacts associated with producing novel electrospun membranes still need to be clarified. It is imperative to quantify and analyze the tradeoffs between membrane performance and impacts at the early stages of research on these novel membranes. LCA is an appropriate tool to systematically account for environmental performance, all the way from raw material extraction to the disposal of any product, process, or technology. The inherent lack of detailed datasets for emerging technologies contributes to significant uncertainties, making the adoption of traditional LCA challenging. A dynamic life cycle assessment (dLCA) is performed to guide the sustainable design and selection of emerging electrospun poly (vinylidene fluoride-co-hexafluoropropene) (PVDF-HFP) electrospun membrane (E-PH) and hybridizing polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) on E-PH membrane (E-PDMS) for dyeing wastewater treatment technologies. The associated environmental impacts are related to the high energy demands required for fabricating electrospun nanofibrous membranes. After LCA analysis, the E-PDMS membrane is one promising membrane, due to the relatively low impact/benefit ratio and the high performance achieved in treating dyeing wastewater. © 2023 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • dynamic life cycle assessment, electrospun membranes, dyeing wastewater, impact benefit tradeoffs