A learning observer approach for fouling detection and localization in direct contact membrane distillation systems

Tania Camelia Touati, Yasmine Marani*, Messaoud Chakir, Taous Meriem Laleg-Kirati

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


As the need for freshwater is continuously growing, seawater desalination technologies are increasingly used to meet these demands. The high solutes' rejection factor and the low energy consumption of Membrane Distillation (MD) technologies make them high potential desalination techniques. However, they suffer from membrane fouling which deteriorates the system's performance and causes high maintenance costs. This paper presents a novel approach based on a learning observer for detecting and localizing fouling in Direct Contact Membrane Distillation (DCMD) systems which allows to significantly decrease the maintenance costs. This approach has the advantage of being flexible and computationally inexpensive. Before the architecture and the design steps of the proposed observer are presented, the DCMD module layout in the fault free scheme and in presence of fouling is explained. To illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed fouling monitoring approach, several tests were simulated and two scenarios were considered: homogeneous and non-homogeneous fouling evolution along the membrane. The various simulations demonstrated very encouraging results in both fouling estimation and localization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2022 American Control Conference, ACC 2022
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781665451963
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 American Control Conference, ACC 2022 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: Jun 8 2022Jun 10 2022

Publication series

NameProceedings of the American Control Conference
ISSN (Print)0743-1619


Conference2022 American Control Conference, ACC 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work has been supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Base Research Fund (BAS/1/1627-01-01) to Taous Meriem Laleg.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Automatic Control Council.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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