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Energy Savings In Desalination Technologies: Reducing Entropy Generation By Transport Processes

J. Lienhard V
Published 2019 · Environmental Science, Mathematics

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Desalination systems can be conceptualized as power cycles in which the useful work output is the work of separation of fresh water from saline water. In this framing, thermodynamic analysis provides powerful tools for raising energy efficiency. This paper discusses the use of entropy generation minimization for a spectrum of desalination technologies, including those based on reverse osmosis (RO), humidification–dehumidification (HDH), membrane distillation (MD), electrodialysis (ED), and forward osmosis (FO). Heat and mass transfer are the primary causes of entropy production in these systems. The energy efficiency of desalination is shown to be maximized when entropy generation is minimized. Equipartitioning of entropy generation is considered and applied. The mechanisms of entropy generation are characterized, including the identification of major causes of irreversibility. Methods to limit discarded exergy are also identified. Prospects and technology development needs for further improvement are mentioned briefly.
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