Desalination using solar energy: Towards sustainability

Veera Gnaneswar Gude, Nagamany Nirmalakhandan, Shuguang Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper describes the theoretical rationale for a new low temperature phase-change desalination process, and six examples of applications to illustrate how this process can be engineered for sustainable desalination. In this process, brackish water is evaporated at near-ambient temperatures under near-vacuum pressures created by the barometric head without any mechanical energy input. Thermodynamic advantages and benefits of low temperature phase-change desalination are discussed and results from simulation studies and a prototype test system are presented. Three of the examples illustrate how the proposed process can be driven by solar energy: a) utilizing direct solar energy; b) inclusion of an external reflector; c) utilizing photovoltaic energy during non-sunlight hours. The other examples illustrate how the proposed process can be driven by waste heat: i) waste heat rejected by an absorption refrigeration unit driven by grid power; ii) waste heat rejected by an absorption refrigeration unit driven by solar collectors; and iii) waste heat rejected by an absorption refrigeration unit supported by a photovoltaic array. Merits of utilizing solar energy and process waste heat in reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions are discussed in detail.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-85
Number of pages8
JournalEnergy
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Desalination
  • Renewable energy
  • Solar energy
  • Solar still
  • Sustainability
  • Thermal energy storage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Pollution
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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