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Introduction

Desalination is an important aspect of human lives. Due to the huge population burst in the last
millennia there is a shortage of meeting the water demands of the general population. The
availability of groundwater for general use (commercial and household) is very difficult.
Moreover unsustainable use of existing water supplies has made the situation even much more
challenging as a result.
Inorder to meet the water needs of the current generation alternative water bodies have been
chosen to undergo different processing methods to make suitable for daily usage. Desalination
is one such technology where the water from the sea or other sources is chosen and the salt
content from it removed to be made suitable for commercial and domestic usage. Desalination
also has the capabilities to produce drinking water, proving this is the best option for meeting
water shortages in the future. The figures below show the composition of sea water:

Figure 1: Constituents of sea water

There exist many technologies for the removal of salts from sea water bodies. Desalination
although a fairly recent concept has been dveeloped and improved over the last few decades.
All the existing dealtion technologies are pictured in the image below:

5 14 12.4 7.4 1.5 2.5 8.6 1.4 1.6 2.3 2.4 1.3 2.4 2.5 5.2 Market Share (%) 16.2 4.9 4.0 2.0 .Figure 2: Primary Desalination methods currently available Table 1: Top 10 nations using Desalination # Country 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 0 KSA USA UAE Spain Kuwait China Japan Qatar Algeria Australia Total Capacity (m3/day) 9.9 8.

The TBT ranges between 90 and 110˚C. the feedwater is heated in the brine heater by using externally supplied steam. Finally. A portion of the brine is also mixed with the feedwater. MSF is a desalination unit that begins with heating water and ends with condensing water. which has the lowest absolute temperature. known as the heat rejection section. It is then passed through the different stages where flashing takes place.The latter is the more popular method in the UAE as it is suited to the large daily and seasonal temperature fluctuations. • Heat rejection section. The principle of this method is to boil seawater in a number of stages in a closed vessel under low pressure and then condense it to pure water vapour for producing drinking water. This raises the feedwater to its highest temperature called “top brine temperature” (TBT). The steam generated by flashing is converted to fresh water by condensing on the tubular heat exchangers that run through each stage. The seawater leaves the heat rejection section and splits up into a make-up feed stream and a rejected stream. • Heat recovery section. consists of two to three stages. The temperature of the seawater increases as it flows from one stage to the other. The condenser. it is heated up by the latent heat of the steam that is constantly condensing. The pure water vapour is sucked due to vacuum through demisters which remove any droplets of . gives its latent heat to the seawater flowing through the tubes. There are two types of MSF plants—Once through and brine recycling (BR). The make-up stream is doused with chemicals and it enters the last evaporation stage. beginning with the last stage. The vapour which condenses on the outer surface of the heat exchanger tubes. It can have up to a total of 40 stages. Cold seawater flows through the heat exchanger tubes of the heat rejection section. In this method.Multi-Stage Flash Process For the purposes of this paper the multi-stage flash process is going to be analyzed. The BR type has three sections: • Heat input section. As the feedwater flows through the stages in the heat recovery section. water is made to boil at a temperature below its boiling point—this is referred to as “flashing effect”.

brine. Figure 3: Brine recirculating multi-stage flash (MSF) process Technical and Economics data and comparison As mentioned previously this paper is aimed to be an in-depth study of the MSF desalination process and as a result the best way to illustrate its use and applicability is to compare with other desalination technologies present at this time. The water vapour comes in contact with cold condenser tubes and condenses to form pure water which is collected in trays. Starting off with a technical comparison between the two: . the concentration of brine increases due to water being vapourised. The comparison will be done mainly with Reverse Osmosis type of desalination process. At each stage. Vacuum increases through successive stages so that water boils at lower temperatures. 1). The concentrated brine remaining at the end of the process is rejected as blow-down (Fig.

. these items are mentioned below and are listed in no particular order:         Financial issues Energy requirements Source water characteristics Geographical and location constraints Product water requirements Environmental factors and waste disposal options Operational and maintenance issues Utilization rates Figure 5: Cost Compositions of seawater MSF Plant Moving onto the economics of desalination. There exist several types of desalting processes however only a few can actually be used in regions according to the parameters listed above.Figure 4: Technical Comparison MSF and RO Several factors influence the selection of Desalination technologies.

This shows the tremendous improvements that the field in question has undergone.From the figure 6 it can be seen that MSF requires 1200-1500 $/m3/day while the total cost may go upto 1.5$/m3. Figure 7: MSF Unit Cost production over the years Environmental Impact . Half a century later the unit costs have been minimalized due to imporivemtns in technology and decraese in cost of operations to approximately 1.25 $/m3. Figure 6: Economics of Desalination Technologies From figure 7 below it can be seen that MSF in its initial stages had avery high unit cost of around 10$/m3.1-1.

Sabri. and ED plants using value impact analysis techniques.Water pollution from desalination plants is caused by the disposal of hot saline brine. economic and environmental sectors. such a comparison would have been difficult to interpret without setting a reference or benchmark. In addition to the thermal and saline pollution of the rejected brine. MSF. The rejected brine affects the sea salinity and turbidity and causes water currents. health. They utilized a scale with high (H = 3). While the aim of the paper initially was to establish MSF technology and list its various specifications. McLagan and Hagensonh (1980) have evaluated the safety. a limited comparison was done with RO technology to establish credibility of the data for MSF technology. medium (M = 2). and low (L = 1). Due to the inability of setting such a reference. Their results are shown in Table 2: Table 2: Rating various desalination process In conclusion it can be seen that MSF and RO are both very useful methods for producing water for daily consumption. As can be seen in the comparison RO is preferred in due to less negative effects in technical. and environmental (SHE) considerations for RO. . as well as increasing seawater temperature. toxic effects may be experienced due to the use of different chemicals in the desalination pretreatment and posttreatment processes.

" Dept of Chemistry. "Water desalination and challenges: The Middle East ] perspective: a review. June 2007.References [1 F. Kumar. Rajasthan. India. "Economical and Technical Assessment of Desalination Technologies. Banat. . Jordan. Nair and D. 2012." ] Jordan University of Science and Technology. Banasthali Univeristy. [2 M.