An autonomous wave-powered desalination system

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    The potential for an autonomous wave-powered desalination system is considered and it is identified that the most promising configuration is a reverse osmosis (RO) plant utilising a pressure exchanger-intensifier for energy recovery. A numerical model of the RO plant with a pressure exchanger-intensifier is developed that shows that a specific energy consumption of less than 2.0 kW h/m3 over a wide range of sea-water feed conditions, making it particularly suitable for use with a variable power source such as wave energy. A numerical model of the combined wave-power and desalination plant is also developed that shows that it is possible to supply the desalination plant with sea-water directly pressurised by the wave energy converter, eliminating the cost and energy losses associated with converting the energy into electricity and back to pressurised water. For a typical sea-state the specific hydraulic energy consumption of the desalination plant is estimated to be 1.85 kW h/m3 whilst maintaining a recovery-ratio of less than 25 to 35% to avoid the need for chemical pre-treatment to eliminate scaling problems. It is suggested that the economic potential for wave-powered desalination depends on these energy and cost savings more than compensating for the reduction in membrane life that occurs with variable feed conditions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages10
    Pages (from-to)412-421
    Journal publication date01 Mar 2008
    Issue number1-3
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2008

    ID: 602774