Fat, oil and grease in wastewater generated from household kitchens, restaurants and food processing plants affect sewer systems, water resources and environment adversely. Hence, membrane distillation of saline and oily water was studied using a nearly superhydrophobic membrane developed in this work. Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) membrane incorporated SiO2 nanoparticles was synthesized via phase inversion with dual baths and modified using hexadecyltrimethoxy silane. The volume ratio of silane to ethanol was varied between 1:200 to 1:25. The membrane characteristics were examined using a goniometer, a porometer, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The PVDF-SiO2 membrane modified using the volume ratio of 1:50 achieved the highest water contact angle of 141.6° and LEP of 2.642 bar. This membrane was further tested in membrane distillation to observe the permeate flux of distilled water, saline solution (1 M NaCl) as well as saline and oily solution (1 M NaCl; 1,000 ppm of palm oil). The modified PVDF/SiO2 showed high permeate flux which is nearly four times of the permeate flux of neat PVDF membrane, but still susceptible of salt and oil fouling as shown in SEM images.

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