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Durham e-Theses
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New and renewable energy and environmental engineering

Shatat, Mahmoud I. M. (2008) New and renewable energy and environmental engineering. Masters thesis, Durham University.



There is an acute scarcity of potable water in many parts of the world, and especially in most of the Middle East region. Important advances have been made in desalination technology but its wide application is restricted by relatively high capital and input energy costs, even when solar energy is used. Until recently, flat-plate solar collectors have usually been employed to distill water in compact desalination systems. Currently, it is possible to replace these collectors by the more advanced evacuated tube collectors, which are now available on the market at a similar price. The research which is concerned with the development of a novel small scale solar water desalination technology, consists of experimental and theoretical investigations of the operation of a multi stage solar still desalination system coupled with a heat pipe evacuated tube solar collector with an aperture area of about 1.7 m(^2). The multi stage still was tested to recover latent heat from the evaporation and condensation processes in each of its four stages. A number of experimental tests were carried out using a laboratory rig to investigate its water production capacity. Solar radiation (insolation) during a mid-summer day in the Middle East region was simulated by an array of 110 halogen flood lights. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling of the evaporation and condensation processes in one of the still's stages was conducted using FLUENT 6.2 software. The simulation results demonstrate the importance of the various parameters affecting the total production rate of the solar still and provide detailed information on the temperature distribution and condensate formation inside the solar still. However, it was found that the CFD technique at this stage does not provide accurate quantitative predictions and results obtained can be used only for qualitative analysis. Hence, the use of a lumped parameter mathematical model was preferred for analysis and design purpose. A lumped parameter model has been developed to describe the system's operation. It consists of a system of ordinary differential equations of energy and mass conservation written for each stage of the still. A MATLAB computer program was written to solve the system of governing equations to simulate the evaporation and condensation processes and the experimental results were used to validate numerical predictions. The experimental and theoretical values for the total daily distillate output were found to be closely correlated. The test results demonstrate that the system produces about 9 kg of clean water per day and has a distillation efficiency of 90%. The overall efficiency is 33% due to the presence of heat losses in the system. However, this level of efficiency is greater of that for conventional solar stills. Following the experimental calibration of the lumped parameter model, this was used for determination of rational design parameters of the still and it was demonstrated that the performance of the system could be considerably improved to produce 11 kg/m(^2) of water per day if the number of stages and evaporation area were 4 and 1 m(^2), respectively. A water quality analysis was performed for the distilled water and the levels of total dissolved solids, electrical conductivity and pH were well within the range defined by the World Health Organization guidelines for drinking water. An economic study was also conducted for the system and it was shown that the distilled water costs of 0.016 US$/litre with a payback period of 6 months in the Middle East region conditions. This research demonstrates, empirically and theoretically, the potential role in the field of solar desalination of the multistage solar still coupled to the evacuated tube solar collector. Not only is this system a promising new technology but it could prove to be particularly appropriate in remote and rural areas. Simultaneously this system also uses a completely clean energy source and contributes to tackling environmental pollution, global carbon emissions and climate change problems. [math mode missing closing $]

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Thesis Date:2008
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:28

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