Modeling and Parametric Evaluation of a Solar Multistage Flash With Brine Mixing Desalination Plant Using a Novel Dual Tank System

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Andrew Chiasson


This work further investigates a novel concentrating solar thermal desalination process using a dual tank system, which addresses one of the biggest challenges in wider adoption of solar applications: 24-hr dispatching of solar energy. Direct use of solar energy only during daily sun hours might be acceptable on a small scale, but not economically viable on a larger scale. In this study, a complete once through multi-stage flash (MSF-OT) desalination plant powered by solar thermal energy was modeled using the TRNSYS modeling environment. The model results are in good agreement with previous general studies, but the novelty here is development and use of a component-based, dynamic simulation model of the entire desalination plant, which more accurately represents real situations, and allows parametric analyses of important design variables such as the number of stages, top brine temperature, operating pressures, and solar concentrator area. System improvements relative to previous studies included use of series/parallel configuration of the solar concentrator array, and improved thermodynamic modeling of vacuum pressures in flashing tanks, and the addition of a heat recovery section for brine preheating. As a result, the size of the solar concentrator array can be reduced by 54% relative to previous studies, and based on a detailed economic analysis, the water price can be reduced by nearly 15% to {dollar} 2.33/m3 .


Condensation, Energy, Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Systems Design, Water Resource Management, Solar Desalination, Multistage Flash, Dual Tank System, Solar concentrator, TRNSYS, Simulation, Parametric Evaluation, Modeling.

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