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Research Papers

Using Solar Energy for Water Purification Through Nanoparticles Assisted Evaporation

[+] Author and Article Information
Virender Ohri

Mechanical Engineering Department,
Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology,
Patiala 147004, Punjab, India

Vikrant Khullar

Mechanical Engineering Department,
Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology,
Patiala 147004, Punjab, India
e-mail: vikrant.khullar@thapar.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING: INCLUDING WIND ENERGY AND BUILDING ENERGY CONSERVATION. Manuscript received January 6, 2018; final manuscript received July 24, 2018; published online September 14, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Gerardo Diaz.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 141(1), 011008 (Sep 14, 2018) (10 pages) Paper No: SOL-18-1011; doi: 10.1115/1.4041099 History: Received January 06, 2018; Revised July 24, 2018

As per the estimates of the world health organization (WHO) by 2025, about half of the world's population shall inhabit water-stressed areas. Water purification through usage of solar energy is a clean and lucrative option to ensure access to clean and safe drinking water. In most of the solar energy-driven desalination systems, evaporation of water is one of the key processes. In this direction, we propose that addition of nanoparticles into the water (owing to their enhanced thermo-physical properties and optical tunability) could significantly enhance the evaporation rate and thus the pure water yield. In the present work, we have developed a detailed theoretically model to predict (and quantify) the evaporation rates when water/nanoparticles dispersion directly interact with solar irradiance. In order to clearly gauge the effects of adding nanoparticles, two systems have been studied (i.e., the one with and the other without nanoparticles dispersed in water) under similar operating conditions. Theoretical calculations show that addition of even trace amounts of nanoparticles (volume fraction = 0.0001) into water can significantly enhance (57–58% higher than the pure water case) the evaporation rates and the pure water yield. Furthermore, a detailed parametric study involving host of parameters influencing the evaporation rate reveals that nanoparticle volume fraction, ambient temperature, and solar irradiance are the most impacting parameters. Finally, the results of the developed theoretical model have been compared with the experimental results in the literature, the two have been found to be in good agreement except at some nanoparticle volume fractions.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

(a) Schematic showing the evaporation process when solar irradiance directly interacts with the nanoparticle dispersion, and (b) spectral reflectance (and absorptance) of 3M solar mirror film measured with UV-VIS-NIR spectrophotometer (PerkinElmer Lambda 1050)

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Fig. 2

Extinction coefficient as a function of wavelength for nanoparticle dispersions (amorphous carbon nanoparticles dispersed in water) at various volume fractions. The values of indices of absorption and indices of refraction for calculation ofspectral extinction coefficients have been taken from Refs.[1214].

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Fig. 3

Algorithm implemented in matlab for finding the evaporation rate and the spatial temperature distribution

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Fig. 4

Schematic showing the spatial discretization of nanoparticle dispersion

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Fig. 5

(a) Mass evaporated as a function of time; temperature distribution and liquid depth evolution in case of (b) nanoparticle dispersion, and (c) pure water

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Fig. 6

Effect of nanoparticle volume fraction on the solar weighted absorption coefficient of the nanoparticle dispersion

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Fig. 7

Effect of nanoparticle volume fraction on the (a) evaporation rate and (b) the temperature change of the nanoparticle dispersion

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Fig. 8

Effect of nanoparticle diameter on the evaporation rate. fv = 0.00001.

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Fig. 9

Mass evaporated as a function of time for (a) different ambient temperatures (keeping RH fixed at 50%) and (b) different relative humidity values (keeping the ambient temperature fixed at 25 °C). fv = 0.00001.

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Fig. 10

Mass evaporated as a function of temperature for five different cities in the month of (a) June and (b) January. fv = 0.00001.

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Fig. 11

Effect of magnitude of solar irradiance on the evaporation rate of (a) pure water and (b) amorphous carbon based nanoparticle dispersion. fv = 0.00001.

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Fig. 12

Effect of wind speed on the evaporation rate. fv = 0.00001.

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Fig. 13

Comparison between the evaporation rates as predicted by the PTM and that of Ishii et al. for various nanoparticle volume fractions.

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