A synergetic hybridization of adsorption cycle with the multi-effect distillation (MED)

K. Thu, Youngdeuk Kim, Gary L. Amy, Wongee Chun, Kim Choon Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Multi-effect distillation (MED) systems are proven and energy efficient thermally-driven desalination systems for handling harsh seawater feed in the Gulf region. The high cycle efficiency is markedly achieved by latent energy re-use with minimal stage temperature-difference across the condensing steam and the evaporating saline seawater in each stage. The efficacies of MED system are (i) its low stage-temperature-difference between top brine temperature (TBT) and final condensing temperature, (ii) its robustness to varying salinity and ability to handle harmful algae Blooming (HABs) and (iii) its compact foot-print per unit water output. The practical TBT of MED systems, hitherto, is around 65 C for controllable scaling and fouling with the ambient-limited final condenser temperature, usually from 30 to 45 C. The adsorption (ADC) cycles utilize low-temperature heat sources (typically below 90 C) to produce useful cooling power and potable water. Hybridizing MED with AD cycles, they synergistically improve the water production rates at the same energy input whilst the AD cycle is driven by the recovered waste heat. We present a practical AD + MED combination that can be retrofitted to existing MEDs: The cooling energy of AD cycle through the water vapor uptake by the adsorbent is recycled internally, providing lower temperature condensing environment in the effects whilst the final condensing temperature of MED is as low as 5-10 C, which is below ambient. The increase in the temperature difference between TBT and final condensing temperature accommodates additional MED stages. A detailed numerical model is presented to capture the transient behaviors of heat and mass interactions in the combined AD + MED cycles and the results are presented in terms of key variables. It is observed that the water production rates of the combined cycle increase to give a GOR of 8.8 from an initial value of 5.9. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-255
Number of pages11
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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