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Enhanced Performance Design of Solar Desalination Device

[+] Author Affiliations
Gregory J. Kowalski

Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Mansour Zenouzi

Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA

Paper No. IMECE2010-40360, pp. 1221-1228; 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


Many regions in the United States, especially in the Northeast coastal and Southern California regions, and in arid parts of the world are facing fresh water shortages while having access to salt or brackish water. At the present time, the reverse osmosis process is the most prevalent means of converting salt to fresh water. However, as energy prices continue to climb there is evidence that solar desalination may provide a more economical and sustainable means of converting salt water to fresh water. The following paper presents a design of unique modular solar distillation units that provides a mobile, flexible installation for addressing water shortages. The solar still is designed such that the condensation surface is on the shady side of the unit while the absorbing surface is designed as a series of cascading trays that significantly increases the evaporation surface area. Fresh water is produced in this device from the condensate. This design is intended to convert sea water into fresh water that is introduced into a community’s reservoir system to augment traditional water sources. The analysis of the solar distillation unit is performed for the Boston, Massachusetts, USA over a day period in the months of December and July to determine performance at the maximum and minimum ambient conditions. The performance of the proposed device is comparable with reported solar stills in the literature, without optimizing the number of trays or heat rejection surfaces.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME
Topics: Design , Solar energy



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