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Politecnico di Milano (2018)

Solar powered hybrid seawater desalination


Titre : Solar powered hybrid seawater desalination


Université de soutenance : Politecnico di Milano

Grade : Laurea Magistrale 2018

The demand for clean and desalted water is growing rapidly, due to steadily increase of population, especially in developing countries or in arid areas. As a result, there is today a great need for fresh water and for reliable methods such as desalination to produce it. The coupling of thermal and membrane processes in hybrid desalination systems has been widely presented in the literature as a promising development of the technology. This thesis focuses on the detailed modeling and simulation of a hybrid thermal and membrane desalination process. The multiple-effect distillation has been chosen as thermal process to couple with the membrane process of reverse osmosis. This choice gives more importance to the present work, since this specific combination is much less studied in the literature with respect to the multi-stage flash technology couple with reverse osmosis. First, this work shows the development of detailed mathematical models for the two stand-alone processes, which are independently validated. Simulation and sensitivity analysis are performed for both processes. The implementation of the models has been accomplished in equation-oriented environments, namely MATLAB and gPROMS. The individual modeled are then merged into a general model to describe the hybrid desalination system. Several possible connections between the thermal and membrane processes are tested in order to identify the best one in terms of productivity, energy consumption, fresh water purity, and recovery ratio. As a result, it has been found that placing the reverse osmosis process upstream in a full-hybrid configuration produces the best results, especially in term of a superior recovery ratio. The analysis of the hybrid system is then extended by implementing an economical model that evaluates the cost of the produced freshwater. An optimization procedure is performed in gPROMS to identify the best operative conditions that minimize the costs. Finally, a solar photovoltaic farm is modeled, simulated and coupled with the optimized desalination system, to provide the required electrical energy in a sustainable way. Simulations performed using data of real locations highlight that the integration with PV in certain areas where electricity from grid is expensive allow to reduce even further the cost of freshwater. :


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