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Enhancement of freshwater production of the seawater greenhouse condenser

Abstract

Seawater greenhouse (SWGH) is a technology established to overcome issues related to open field cultivation in arid areas, such as the high ambient temperature and the shortage of freshwater. It adopts the humidification-dehumidification concept where evaporated moisture from a saline water source is condensed to produce freshwater within the greenhouse body. Various condenser designs are adopted to increase freshwater production in order to meet the irrigation demand. The aim of this study was to experimentally investigate the practicality of using the packed-type direct contact condenser in the SWGH to produce more freshwater at low costs, simple design and high efficiency, and to explore the impact of the manipulating six operational variables (inlet air temperature of the humidifier, air mass flowrate of the humidifier, inlet water temperature of the humidifier, water mass flowrate of the humidifier, inlet water temperature of the dehumidifier and water mass flowrate of the dehumidifier) on freshwater condensation rate. For this purpose, a direct contact condenser was designed and manufactured. Sixty-four full factorial experiments were conducted to study the effect of the six operational variables. Each variable was operated at two levels (high and low flowrate), and each experiment lasted for 10 min and followed by a 30-min waiting time. Results showed that freshwater production varied between 0.257 and 2.590 L for every 10 min. When using Minitab statistical software to investigate the significant variables that contributed to the maximum freshwater production, it was found that the inlet air temperature of the humidifier had the greatest influence, followed by the inlet water temperature of the humidifier; the former had a negative impact while the latter had a positive impact on freshwater production. The response optimizer tool revealed that the optimal combination of variables contributed to maximize freshwater production when all variables were in the high mode and the inlet air temperature of the humidifier was in the low mode. The comparison between the old plastic condenser and the new proposed direct contact condenser showed that the latter can produce 75.9 times more freshwater at the same condenser volume.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to express our sincere thanks to the Sultan Qaboos University for the research grant provided through His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Trust Fund (Project code: # SR/AGR/SWAE/17/01).

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Correspondence to Abdulrahim M. Al-Ismaili.

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Bait Suwailam, T.K., Al-Ismaili, A.M., Al-Azri, N.A. et al. Enhancement of freshwater production of the seawater greenhouse condenser. J. Arid Land 13, 397–412 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-021-0063-8

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Keywords

  • seawater greenhouse
  • humidification-dehumidification
  • direct contact condenser
  • freshwater production
  • water desalination