Large Scale Solar Desalination
Using Multi Effect Humidification 


A theoretical proposal is outlined for large scale solar desalination using multi effect humidification.  It involves the use of a large area solar collector, multi effect distillation and boiling at reduced pressure.  The configuration devised is a circular tank of one kilometre diameter containing water to a depth of 10 metres with a sealed double glazed dome, operating at 0.1 atmosphere pressure with a working temperature below 50°C.  A solar absorber placed just above the water level, abundantly perforated but covering the entire area, sets up convection currents that evaporate the sea water and condense the vapour.  Incoming seawater recovers energy from outgoing clean water and brine in a counter current heat exchanger.  Water flow is driven by solar distillation and hydrostatic pressure.  It is estimated that the structure would have 95% energy efficiency and a gained output ratio of 20.  In sunbelt countries with average isolation of 6kwh/m2/day the desalination plant would produce 100,000 m3/d distilled water at a speculative cost of $0.28/m3.

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