Abstract Tunisia has five major geothermal districts. Recorded hot spring temperatures range from 294 to 340 K with flow rates 0.1–102 L/s. In southern parts available groundwater resources are mostly hard and brackish (3 g/L). Recently, Tunisia has resorted to this resource for agriculture and potable water uses. Cooling towers have been built to lower down the temperature and hardness. Cooled brackish water irrigates greenhouses and feeds desalination plants. The cooling operation of groundwater rejects an important quantity of thermal energy in the atmosphere. However, energy requirements of thermal desalination plants are too excessive to be supplied by a geothermal resource. Membrane distillation (MD) is an emerged desalination technology, which can be driven by a thermal energy at low enthalpy (less than 363 K) as geothermal energy, and a fluidised bed crystalliser can ensure reduction of an important portion of hardness without significant loss of temperature. MD is realised by means of a microporous hydrophobic membrane separating a warm solution from the cooling chamber, which contains either liquid or gas. A fluidised bed crystalliser permits production of from it of a granular crystal calcium carbonate from the consumption rates of calcium ions, using aragonite or sand as seeding materials. The purpose of this paper is to realise experimental assembly constituted of fluidised bed crystalliser (FBC) and a cell of air gap membrane distillation (AGMD). It presents preliminary results related to characterisation of fluidised bed, growth of seeded particles size of CaCO3 and operating parameters of AGMD. In laboratory scale, the technical feasibility has been shown. More investigation is needed to prove the efficiency and availability of coupled AGMD with FBC.

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