Highly efficient Si 3N 4 ceramic planar membrane for water desalination process using membrane distillation was prepared by the dual-layer phase inversion tape casting and sintering method. In comparison with typical phase inversion tape casting method, the green tape was formed using Si 3N 4 slurry on the top and graphite slurry on the bottom. After consuming away the graphite structure, a ceramic membrane consisting of a two-layered structure (skin and finger-like layers) was obtained. The skin layer was relatively tight, and thus could act as a functional layer for separation, while the finger-like layer contained straight open pores with a diameter of 100 μm, acting as a support with low transport resistance. For comparison, typical Si 3N 4 ceramic membrane was fabricated by phase inversion technique without graphite substrate, resulting in a three-layered structure (skin, finger-like, and sponge layers). After membrane modification from hydrophilic to hydrophobic with polymer derived nanoparticle method, the water desalination performance of the membranes was tested using the sweeping gas membrane distillation (SGMD) with different NaCl feed solutions. With the increase of salt content from 4 to 12 wt%, the water flux decreased slightly while rejection rate maintained over 99.99%. Comparing with typical three-layered Si 3N 4 membrane, an excellent water flux enhancement of over 83% was resulted and the rejection rate remained over 99.99%.