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Formulation of Seawater Flow Exergy Using Accurate Thermodynamic Data

[+] Author Affiliations
Mostafa H. Sharqawy, John H. Lienhard, V

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA

Syed M. Zubair

King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

Paper No. IMECE2010-40915, pp. 675-682; 8 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Energy Systems Analysis, Thermodynamics and Sustainability; NanoEngineering for Energy; Engineering to Address Climate Change, Parts A and B
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4429-8
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


Seawater is a complex electrolyte solution of water and salts with sodium chloride as the major constituent. However, the thermodynamic properties of seawater are considerably different from those of aqueous sodium chloride solution. In the literature, exergy analyses of seawater desalination systems have sometimes modeled seawater by sodium chloride solutions of equivalent salt content or salinity; however, such matching does not bring all important properties of the two solutions into agreement. Furthermore, some published studies attempt to represent sodium chloride solutions as a specific model for an ideal mixture of liquid water and solid sodium chloride, which is shown to have serious shortcomings. In this paper, the most up-to-date thermodynamic properties of seawater are compared with those of aqueous sodium chloride solution as well as the ideal mixture model. The flow exergy is calculated using various models and the results are compared. In addition, the minimum work required to desalinate a unit mass of fresh water from seawater of varying salinity is calculated using these models. The flow exergy calculated using the ideal mixture model in question is about 50% less than that of seawater. Accordingly, the minimum desalination work is underpredicted by about 50% when calculating it using that ideal mixture model. This consequently shows that exergy analysis and the second law efficiency calculations performed using the ideal mixture model is comparatively far from the actual values.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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