Experimental and numerical investigation of a solar eductor-assisted low-pressure water desalination system

Abstract

Greenhouse solar-energy driven desalination technology is potentially well suited for supplying water and small scale irrigation in remote and/or rural areas, and for avoiding over-exploitation of available water resources. The efficiency and productivity of these systems are however low, in part because the heat of evaporation has to be transferred as waste heat to ambient air during condensation. In order to maximize energy regeneration during condensation we propose an educator based system that lowers the evaporation process temperature by reducing pressure. The feasibility of the educator assisted passive solar desalination system is investigated using a detailed computational fluid dynamics analysis complemented by experiments. The study focuses in particular on the ability of the new design to lower the required evaporation temperature and thereby reduce the energy intensity of the process. Two configurations, with open and closed educator, are investigated and a detailed analysis of the thermofluid processes is presented. The configuration with a closed educator installed outside the evaporation chamber shows very promising performance. The proposed system can maintain the maximum temperature and pressure in the evaporation chamber below the desirable temperature and pressure thresholds (30 °C and 5 kPa). The analysis and experimental data also show it is possible to further reduce energy requirements by reducing the motive water flow rates.

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Acknowledgments

Funding and technical support for this work was provided in part by the Deanship of Scientific Research, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, under Grant No. (1-135-36-HiCi). The authors would also like to thank Dr. Amir Sharafian for his contributions to this study.

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Correspondence to Majid Bahrami.

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Ahmadi, M., Thimmaiah, P., Bahrami, M. et al. Experimental and numerical investigation of a solar eductor-assisted low-pressure water desalination system. Sci. Bull. 61, 959–973 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11434-016-1092-0

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Keywords

  • Desalination
  • Solar energy
  • Evaporation
  • Humidification
  • Dehumidification
  • Regenerative heating