A hybrid multi-effect distillation and adsorption cycle

K. Thu, Y.-D. Kim, G.L. Amy, W.G. Chun, K.C. Ng
Applied Energy, 104, 810-82, (2013)

A hybrid multi-effect distillation and adsorption cycle


Hybrid desalination, Adsorption, Multi-effect distillation, Low-temperature waste heat


​This paper describes the development of a simple hybrid desalination system of a Multi-Effect Distillation (MED) and an adsorption (AD) cycle operating at sub-atmospheric pressures and temperatures. By hybridizing the conventional MED with an AD cycle, there is a symbiotic enhancement of performances of both cycles. The performance enhancement is attributed to (i) the cascade of adsorbent’s regeneration temperature and this extended the usage of thermal energy emanating from the brine heater and (ii) the vapor extraction from the last MED stage by AD cycle which provides the effect of lowering saturation temperatures of all MED stages to the extent of 5 °C, resulting in scavenging of heat leaks into the MED stages from the ambient. The combined effects of the hybrid cycles increase the water production capacity of the desalination plant by nearly twofolds.

In this paper, we demonstrate a hybrid cycle by simulating an 8-stage MED cycle which is coupled to an adsorption cycle for direct vapor extraction from the last MED stage. The sorption properties of silica gel is utilized (acting as a mechanical vapor compressor) to reduce the saturation temperatures of MED stages. The modeling utilizes the adsorption isotherms and kinetics of the adsorbent + adsorbate (silica-gel + water) pair along with the governing equations of mass, energy and concentration. For a 8-stage MED and AD cycles operating at assorted temperatures of 65–90 °C, the results show that the water production rate increases from 60% to twofolds when compared to the MED alone. The performance ratio (PR) and gain output ratio (GOR) also improve significantly.


DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2012.12.007


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