Cost analysis of multiple effect evaporation and membrane distillation hybrid desalination system

Emad Ali, Jamel Orfi, Hany AlAnsary, Sofiane Soukane, Harun Elcik, Alla Alpatova, NorEddine Ghaffour

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


This work addresses the feasibility of a previously proposed hybrid desalination system comprising multiple effect evaporation (MEE) and membrane distillation (MD) processes. The feasibility study introduced here focuses on the impact of the hybridization of two separate processes on desalination plant economics. The water cost of the hybrid system is found to be 2.05 $/m3, which compares well with previously reported values and is 17% lower than that of standalone MEE system. The sensitivity of the water production cost to the MD feed flow rate indicated the existence of an optimal cost at a single-pass feed flow rate of 900 L/h. In addition, the sensitivity of the water cost with respect to the MD unit cost indicated a 0.0084 $/m3 change in water production cost for every unit change in the MD module cost. A modified structure of the hybrid system that leverages the thermal energy of all MEE effluents has also been suggested. With this system, the overall water recovery ratio can reach as high as 52% and the water cost can further be reduced to 1.84 $/m3.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115258
StatePublished - Jul 26 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-08-06
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): REP/1/3805-01-01
Acknowledgements: This research reported in this paper was supported by the King Saud University – King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KSU-KAUST), Saudi Arabia, collaboration agreement, under project funding # RG-1440-103 (KSU), and REP/1/3805-01-01 (KAUST). Emad Ali: Methodology, Software, Writing - Original Draft. Jamel Orfi: Conceptualization, Formal analysis, Writing – review & editing. Hany AlAnsary: Project administration, Funding acquisition. Sofiane Soukane: Investigation, Formal analysis. Harun Elcik: Resources, Visulaization. Alla Alpatova: Data curtain, Writing – review & editing. Noreddine Ghaffour: Supervision, Project administration, Writing – review & editing.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering


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