The paper describes the experimental investigations of the performance of a multi-stage water desalination still connected to a heat pipe evacuated tube solar collector with aperture area of 1.7 m2. The multi-stage solar still water desalination system was designed to recover latent heat from evaporation and condensation processes in four stages. The variation in the solar radiation during a typical mid-summer day in the Middle East region was simulated on the test rig using an array of 110 halogen floodlights covering the area of the collector. The results of tests demonstrate that the system produces about 9 kg of fresh water per day and has a solar collector efficiency of about 68%. However, the overall efficiency of the laboratory test rig at this stage of the investigations was found to be at the level of 33% due to excessive heat losses in the system. The analysis of the distilled water showed that its quality was within the World Health Organization guidelines. The still's operation was numerically simulated by employing a mathematical model based on a system of ordinary energy and mass conservation differential equations written for each stage of the still. A computer program was developed for transient simulations of the evaporation and condensation processes inside the multi-stage still. Experimental results obtained and theoretical predictions were found to be in good agreement. The results on the determination of rational design dimensions and number of stages of the still for a given aperture of the solar collector are also presented in this work.
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2010|