Desalination, Vol.465, 114-125, 2019
Design and economic evaluation of solar-powered hybrid multi effect and reverse osmosis system for seawater desalination
Reducing the cost of fresh water has always been a major concern in the desalination industry. A solar powered hybrid multi-effect distillation and reverse osmosis desalination plant (MED + RO) has been designed and optimised from an economical point of view in a previous work by the same authors. In the present study, the possibility of coupling the desalination plant with a photovoltaic (PV) solar farm is investigated, with the aim of generating electricity at low cost and in a sustainable way. A detailed mathematical model for the PV system has been implemented from the literature. Interestingly, the model can predict the cost of the PV system in terms of capital cost and electricity cost per kWh considering the input data of solar irradiation, duration of daylight and technical specification of a real solar module. Consequently, the solar PV model has been combined with the desalination model, which enables to estimate the cost of fresh water per cubic meter. Data about four locations, namely Isola di Pantelleria (IT), Las Palmas (ES), Abu Dhabi (UAE), and Perth (AUS), have been used to economically test the feasibility of installing the proposed plant, and especially of the PV solar farm.