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Desalination using low grade heat in the process industry: Challenges and perspectives

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yasmine Ammar, Dr Patricia Thornley, Professor Tony Roskilly


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This paper examines the use of lowgradeheat from process industries for thermal desalinationprocesses as this is relevant not only to current energy conservation schemes but also may play a role in increasing the capacity to satisfy future water demands. The study focuses on lowgradeheat sources from a paper mill located on a British coastal area which presents a large quantity of recoverable waste heat at low temperature (<100 °C). Two scenarios are considered: (i) lowgradeheat is used directly to feed the desalinationprocess, (ii) lowgradeheat is upgraded using a heat pump coupled with a desalination system.In the first scenario, a Humidification Dehumidification process was identified as a suitable technology due to its low operating temperature. In the second scenario, the lowgradeheat temperature was upgraded using a hybrid absorption heat pump and subsequently used to feed a Multiple Effect Distillation desalination system. These two cases were compared in terms of performances and economics. For both cases, a payback period of less than 10 years could be obtained for water price equal to £2 per tonnes of water. This is comparable to the price of home water supply. Environmental aspects were also discussed from the results of a full Lifecycle assessment. Lowgradeheat utilisation in both cases reduced the Global Warming Potential in comparison with fossil fuel powered systems, but toxicological impacts appeared higher in comparison to a system using natural gas.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ammar Y, Hanning Li, Walsh C, Thornley P, Sharifi V, Roskilly AP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Thermal Engineering

Year: 2012

Volume: 48

Pages: 446-457

ISSN (print): 1359-4311

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5606

Publisher: Pergamon


DOI: 10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2012.05.012


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