A cost-effective steam-driven RO plant for brackish groundwater


Desalination is a costly means of providing freshwater. Most desalination plants use either reverse osmosis (RO) or thermal distillation. Both processes have drawbacks: RO is efficient but uses expensive electrical energy; thermal distillation is inefficient but uses less expensive thermal energy. This work aims to provide an efficient RO plant that uses thermal energy. A steam-Rankine cycle has been designed to drive mechanically a batch-RO system that achieves high recovery, without the high energy penalty typically incurred in a continuous-RO system. The steam may be generated by solar panels, biomass boilers, or as an industrial by-product. A novel mechanical arrangement has been designed for low cost, and a steam-jacketed arrangement has been designed for isothermal expansion and improved thermodynamic efficiency. Based on detailed heat transfer and cost calculations, a gain output ratio of 69-162 is predicted, enabling water to be treated at a cost of 71 Indian Rupees/m3 at small scale. Costs will reduce with scale-up. Plants may be designed for a wide range of outputs, from 5 m3/day, up to commercial versions producing 300 m3/day of clean water from brackish groundwater.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2016.02.022
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Engineering and Technology > Mechanical, Biomedical & Design
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Engineering Systems and Supply Chain Management
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Sustainable environment research group
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Aston Institute of Materials Research (AIMR)
Additional Information: © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Uncontrolled Keywords: biomass,gain output ratio,Rankine cycle,recovery ratio,reverse osmosis,solar,Chemical Engineering(all),Mechanical Engineering,Chemistry(all),Materials Science(all),Water Science and Technology
Publication ISSN: 1873-4464
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2024 07:19
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2019 10:08
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2016-05-02
Published Online Date: 2016-02-24
Accepted Date: 2016-02-12
Submitted Date: 2015-11-29
Authors: Mudgal, A.
Davies, P.A. (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-4783-1234)



Version: Accepted Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives

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