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Research Papers

Theoretical and Experimental Simulation of Passive Vacuum Solar Flash Desalination

[+] Author and Article Information
Mohammad Abutayeh

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Khalifa University,
P.O. Box 127788,
Abu Dhabi, UAE
e-mail: mohammad.abutayeh@kustar.ac.ae

Elias K. Stefanakos

Clean Energy Research Center,
University of South Florida,
Tampa, FL 33620

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. Manuscript received May 18, 2011; final manuscript received October 14, 2012; published online January 25, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Mario Motta.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 135(2), 021013 (Jan 25, 2013) (13 pages) Paper No: SOL-11-1116; doi: 10.1115/1.4023180 History: Received May 18, 2011; Revised October 14, 2012

Experimental and theoretical simulations of a novel sustainable desalination process have been carried out. The simulated process consists of pumping seawater through a solar heater before flashing it under vacuum in an elevated chamber. Vacuum is passively created and then maintained by the hydrostatic balance between pressure inside the elevated flash chamber and outdoor atmospheric pressure. Experimental simulations were carried out using a pilot unit built to depict the proposed desalination system. Theoretical simulations were performed using a detailed computer code employing fundamental physical and thermodynamic laws to describe the separation process, complimented by experimentally based correlations to estimate physical properties of the involved species and operational parameters of the proposed system setting it apart from previous empirical desalination models. Experimental and theoretical simulation results matched well, validating the developed model. Feasibility of the proposed system rapidly increased with flash temperature due to increased fresh water production and improved heat recovery. In addition, the proposed desalination system is naturally sustainable by solar radiation and gravity, making it very energy efficient.

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References

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Figures

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Fig. 1

Single-stage solar flash desalination system

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Fig. 2

Multistage solar flash desalination system

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Fig. 3

Process and instrumentation diagram of experimental unit

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Fig. 4

Modeled vacuum pressure profiles at lower flow

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Fig. 5

Experimental vacuum pressure profiles at lower flow (ε = ±0.005)

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Fig. 6

Modeled vacuum pressure profiles at higher flow

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Fig. 7

Experimental vacuum pressure profiles at higher flow (ε = ±0.005)

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Fig. 8

Modeled preheat temperature profiles at lower flow

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Fig. 9

Experimental preheat temperature profiles at lower flow (ε = ± 1)

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Fig. 10

Modeled preheat temperature profiles at higher flow

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Fig. 11

Experimental preheat temperature profiles at higher flow (ε = ± 1)

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Fig. 12

Modeled recovery efficiency profiles at lower flow

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Fig. 13

Experimental recovery efficiency profiles at lower flow (εaverage = ±0.04)

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Fig. 14

Modeled recovery efficiency profiles at higher flow

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Fig. 15

Experimental recovery efficiency profiles at higher flow (εaverage = ±0.04)

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