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National ENERGY GLOBE Award Saudi Arabia 2019
The innovative hybrid desalination cycle combines the adsorption (AD) cycle with conventional multi-effect distillation (MED) system to overcome the operational limitations of MED. The hybrid cycle, known as MEDAD, enables the last stage temperature of MED to be lowered to below the ambient temperature, even as low as 10 C.
In Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, thermally driven desalination processes are dominating due to challenges faced by the reverse osmosis processes in terms of water quality such as residuals of boron, chlorides and bromides and the severe fluctuations in the seawater intake quality. In addition, harmful algae blooms in seawater also restrict the installation of reverse osmosis processes in the gulf region. On the other hand, thermally driven desalination processes are very successful in this region due to their robust operation.
The main motivation was to improve MED systems performance to achieve sustainable desalination for future water supplies. The hybridization of adsorption (AD) cycle with MED system extends the bottom brine temperature of conventional MED system typically from 40oC to 5oC. The additional number of stages symbiotically enhances the water production of the MED cycle by two to three folds at the same top-brine temperatures.
The innovative adsorption cycle was developed and its integration with conventional MED system was proposed. The technology utilize low temperature waste heat, typically at 65oC, and such low grade thermal energy is available in abundance in exhausts of power cycles, refineries, geothermal heat and renewable solar thermal. The cycle has almost no major moving parts except the parasitic pumping and valves operation. In addition it has the ability to handle high total dissolved solids (tds) in the evaporator where the separation occurs at low solution temperatures up to 260,000ppm