Optimization of convection-enhanced evaporation (CEE) using generalized cost ratios

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Brine is a byproduct of desalination plants and several industrial processes which can have an adverse impact on the environment if not managed properly. Conventional brine management technologies are energy intensive and costly which limit their adoption. This study presents the first cost optimization of convection-enhanced evaporation (CEE) system to achieve a modular, cost-effective brine management and on-site treatment option for decentralized desalination plants and small-volume industries. CEE involves evaporating water from saline liquid films, released on evaporation surfaces, by the difference in vapor pressure created by forced air convection. The optimization identifies the optimal operating settings (brine flow rates, brine temperatures, and air speeds) and enables comprehensive investigation of the effect of various operational decisions on operating (energy) cost, capital cost, and footprint area. The objective functions are formulated using two cost ratios that relate material, thermal, and electrical energy costs, effectively generalizing the optimization results to be independent of location-specific cost parameters. The optimization reveals two distinct operation modes, “all-electric mode” and “heating mode”. The “all-electric mode” corresponds to a lower total specific cost, ranging from $1.4 to $5 per m3, and higher footprint area, ranging from 0.5 to 1.8 m2 per m3 of evaporated volume. The “heating mode” corresponds to a higher total specific cost, up to $6.5 per m3; at low energy cost ratios, a compact footprint area ranging from 0.072 to 0.5 m2 per m3 of evaporated volume is achieved. Proposed designs were found to have lower costs than technologies available in the literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number118491
JournalWater Research
Volume219
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for this project was provided by the US Bureau of Reclamation under Grant No. R21AC10130 and the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Computational resources were provided by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) at University of Minnesota.

Funding Information:
Funding for this project was provided by the US Bureau of Reclamation under Grant No. R21AC10130 and the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Computational resources were provided by the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI) at University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

Keywords

  • Brine
  • Convection
  • Cost
  • Desalination
  • Evaporation
  • Optimization

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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