Graduation Year

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Chemical Engineering

Major Professor

D. Yogi Goswami

Co-Major Professor

Elias K. Stefanakos

Keywords

Efficiency, Ejector, Heat Recovery, MED, RO, Supercritical Organic Rankine Cycle

Abstract

Water and energy crises have forced researchers to seek alternative water and energy sources. Seawater desalination can contribute towards meeting the increasing demand for fresh water using alternative energy sources like low-grade heat. Industrial waste heat, geothermal, solar thermal, could help to ease the energy crisis.

Unfortunately, the efficiency of the conventional power cycle becomes

uneconomically low with low-grade heat sources, while, at the same time, seawater desalination requires more energy than a conventional water treatment process. However, heat discarded from low-grade heat power cycles could be used as part of desalination energy sources with seawater being used as coolant for the power cycles. Therefore a study of desalination using low-grade heat is of great significance.

This research has comprehensively reviewed the current literature and

proposes two systems that use low-grade heat for desalination applications or even desalination/power cogeneration. The proposed two cogeneration systems are a supercritical Rankine cycle-type coupled with a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane desalination process, and a power cycle with an ejector coupled with a multi-effect distillation desalination system. The first configuration provides the advantages of

making full use of heat sources and is suitable for hybrid systems. The second system has several advantages, such as handling highly concentrated brine without external electricity input as well as the potential of water/power cogeneration when it is not used to treat concentrated brine. Compared to different stand-alone power cycles, the proposed systems could use seawater as coolant to reject low-grade heat from the power cycle to reduce thermal pollution.

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