Journal of Water Reuse and Desalination (2020-06-01)

Experimental study of a novel solar multi-effect distillation unit using alternate storage tanks

  • M. Alsehli,
  • B. Saleh,
  • A. Elfasakhany,
  • Ayman A. Aly,
  • M. M. Bassuoni

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 2
pp. 120 – 132


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In recent years, the use of solar energy has been growing exponentially and applied in a wider range of applications; one of the important applications for using solar energy is water desalination. The current work investigates the proof of concept experimental setup for a novel solar multi-effect distillation (MED) using alternate storage tanks. The experimental setup consists of a MED unit, two thermal storage tanks, and a solar collector. One storage tank is used as a charging tank while the other tank is used as a discharging tank. This unique dual-tank system stores the thermal energy to be used later in the MED unit, which improves the control of the water mass flow rate and water temperature throughout the MED process. The peak temperature achieved every day in the charging tank determines the MED production capacity. This system is designed for the tanks to alternate roles every 24 hours. The testing of this design was carried out during May 2019 in Saudi Arabia. The experimental results prove the novel concept design to work efficiently providing an average production rate of about 21 kg/day with total solar collector area of 2.7 m2 and average daily performance ratio of 2.5.