Comparative Productivity of Distillation and Reverse Osmosis Desalination Using Energy From Solar Ponds

[+] Author and Article Information
B. W. Tleimat, E. D. Howe

Water Thermal and Chemical Technology Center, University of California, Berkeley, Richmond, Calif. 94804

J. Sol. Energy Eng 104(4), 299-304 (Nov 01, 1982) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3266321 History: Received July 25, 1981; Online November 11, 2009


This paper presents comparative analyses of two methods for producing desalted water using the heat collected by a solar pond—the first by distillation, and the second by reverse osmosis. The distillation scheme uses a multiple-effect distiller supplied with steam generated in a flash boiler using heat from a solar pond. Solar pond water passes through a heat exchanger in the water system ahead of the flash boiler. The second scheme uses a similar arrangement to generate hydrocarbon vapor which drives a Rankine cycle engine. This engine produces mechanical/electrical power for the RO plant. The analyses use two pond water temperatures—82.2°C (180°F) and 71.1°C (160°F)—which seem to cover the range expected from salt-gradient ponds. In each case, the pond water temperature drops by 5.56°C (10°F) while passing through the vapor generator system. Results of these analyses show that, based on the assumptions made, desalted water could be produced by distillation at productivity rates much greater than those estimated for the RO plant.

Copyright © 1982 by ASME
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