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

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  2. Dr Yasmine Ammar
  3. Dr Patricia Thornley
  4. Professor Tony Roskilly
Author(s)Ammar Y, Hanning Li, Walsh C, Thornley P, Sharifi V, Roskilly AP
Publication type Article
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
ISSN (print)1359-4311
ISSN (electronic)1873-5606
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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.
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