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Global Stats & Facts

Availability of fresh water supply for agricultural, industrial and domestic uses is reaching critical demands. 1.1 billion people around the world have no access to clean drinking water. The World Health Organization reports that contaminated water contributes to 80% of all sickness and disease worldwide.

The total amount of water available on earth has been estimated at 1.4 billion cubic kilometres, enough to cover the planet with a layer of about 3-km deep.


Desalination refers to any of several processes that remove excess salt and other minerals from water for
Human Use Irrigation Animal use
Concentration Of Salt Fresh Water Brackish Water Saline Water Brine Less than 0.5 ppt 0.5-30 ppt 30-50 ppt Greater than 50 ppt

Desalination Techniques

y Multi-stage flash distillation y Multiple effect distillation

Membrane processes
y Reverse osmosis

Solar Humidification (Solar still)


Multi-Stage-Flash Distillation:
y The leading method y The traditional process used in these operations is

vacuum distillation-essentially the boiling of water at less than atmospheric pressure and temperature.
y Lesser energy requirement

Single Effect

Multiple-Effect Distillation


Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis (RO) is a filtration method that removes many types of large molecules and ions from solutions by applying pressure to the solution when it is on one side of a permeable membrane. The result is that the solute is retained on the pressurized side of the membrane and the pure solvent is allowed to pass to the other side. Overview:
y Uses electricity rather than heat y Proven technology

For a typical community level solar powered RO plant:

PARAMETER Capacity (lit/day) Feed Salinity (ppm) Product Recovery (% ) Pressure (kPa) Power Requirement (kW) Product Salinity (ppm) VALUE 2000 2000 2500 70 - 80 1.1 x 103 1.2 x 103 1.6 - 1.8 200 - 250

Solar Desalination
The process is based on the use of solar thermal energy to evaporate water, thus separating pure water from brine. Direct Solar Desalination:

Direct Solar Desalination


HumidificationHumidification-Dehumidification HD


Indirect Solar Desalination

Direct Solar Desalination Single-effect Stills Water production < 6 liters/m2,day Examples: Basin stills Wick stills Greenhouse integrated stills

basin-type solar still

Basin still with radioactive cooling


Packed Bed Cooled during night

Solar still Natural Convection

5-6 litres/m2,day




Solar Radiation : The still output increased from 1.76 liters/m2 day at 16.74 MJ/m2 day to 5.11 liters/m2 day at 27.08 MJ/m2 day. Ambient Temperature: An increase in still output was observed with increase in ambient temperature. The increase in output is about 0.87 liters/m2 day for each 10C rise in ambient temperature.

Operational parameters
Water Depth: Higher distillate output was observed with lower water depth. Preheating of Water Coloring of Water: The effect of dye on water output was also studied. The output got increased by colouring the water.

MultipleMultiple-effect basin stills

have two or more compartments. The condensing surface of the lower compartment is the floor of the upper compartment. The heat given off by the condensing vapor provides energy to vaporize the feed water above. Efficiency is therefore greater than for a single-basin still typically being 35% or more but the cost and complexity are correspondingly higher.

Direct Solar Desalination

Humidification - Dehumidification Water production 1 - 20 litres/m2,day

HD with open-air cycle

HD with open-air cycle

Water heating by solar collector

Ambient air

6 litres/m2,day

Solar Air Conditioning

Air conditioning is the control of the indoor environment by controlling the thermal characteristics mainly heating and cooling the air supplied to the room. Solar air conditioning refers to the use of solar energy to power a cooling appliance. Days that have the greatest need for cooling are also the very same days that offer the maximum possible solar energy gain.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

There are several basic types of solar cooling technologies Absorption Cooling Desiccant Cooling Vapor Compression Cooling Photovoltaic Solar Cooling Evaporative Cooling

Absorption Cooling

The basic principle behind solar-thermal driven cooling is the thermo chemical process of absorption of a liquid or a gaseous substance into a liquid or a solid material. Solar cooling uses the solar collectors to provide thermal energy to drive thermally driven coolers. The usefulness of a given absorbent refrigerant pair is determined by the temperature dependence of vaporization and absorption process.

LiBr water solar cooling system

Desiccant Cooling

Desiccant cooling is a new and clean technology which can be used to cool the inside air of the buildings without using any harmful refrigerants. Desiccant cooling systems are basically open cycle systems using water as a refrigerant in direct contact with air. Desiccants like silica gel or zeolite draw moisture from the air and they are regenerated by using solar thermal energy.

Desiccant cooling system

Desiccant Cycle

In a vapor compression cooling , the solar thermal energy is used to operate a Rankine cycle heat engine The solar power also converted to electricity can be used to run the air conditioning systems. Evaporative cooling is to spray water into dry air where the temperature is reduced by evaporation water into the air.

Zero energy building


Integrating desalination units with renewable energy sources is important for addressing the issues related to adverse impacts of climate change. Also, for remote areas, where scarcity of power and water co-exist, the one and only solution to produce safe drinking water is to go in for renewable energy sources. With improvement in PV efficiencies and the subsidies available, cost of PV systems is expected to come down, making the solar PV based desalination systems more costeffective.

Reference a Renewable energy conversion transmission and storage Bent Sorensen