Future Energy Benchmark for Desalination: Is it Better to have a Power (Electricity) Plant With RO or MED/MSF?

Muhammad Wakil Shahzad, Kim Choon Ng, Kyaw Thu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Power and desalination cogeneration plants are common in many water scared courtiers. Designers and planners for cogeneration face tough challenges in deciding the options:- Is it better to operate a power plant (PP) with the reverse osmosis (i.e., PP+RO) or the thermally-driven multi-effect distillation/multi-stage flashed ( PP+MED/MSF) methods. From literature, the RO methods are known to be energy efficient whilst the MED/MSF are known to have excellent thermodynamic synergies as only low pressure and temperature steam are used. Not with-standing the challenges of severe feed seawater of the Gulf, such as the frequent harmful algae blooms (HABs) and high silt contents, this presentation presents a quantitative analyses using the exergy and energetic approaches in evaluating the performances of a real cogeneration plant that was recently proposed in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia. We demonstrate that the process choice of PP+RO versus PP+MED depends on the inherent efficiencies of individual process method which is closely related to innovative process design. In this connection, a method of primary fuel cost apportionment for a co-generation plant with a MED desalination is presented. We show that an energy approach, that captures the quality of expanding steam, is a better method over the conventional work output (energetic) and the energy method seems to be over-penalizing a thermally-driven MED by as much as 22% in the operating cost of water.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1660172
JournalInternational Journal of Modern Physics: Conference Series
StatePublished - Jun 23 2016

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KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01


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