Design and Fabrication of Multi-functional Photovoltaic-Membrane Distillation-Evaporative Crystallizer for Water Desalination, Electricity Generation, Salt Crystallization and Solar Cell Cooling

  • Sara Aleid

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Ensuring electricity availability and acquiring access of potable water during emergencies in remote areas are becoming a global challenge around the world. Utilizing solar energy electricity generation by photovoltaics and clean water production by solar distillation have shown its great potential to meet the world’s future energy and water demands. In this work, we fabricated a photovoltaic-membrane distillation-evaporative crystallizer device (PV-MD-EC), in which high electricity generation efficiency (~15%), clean water production rate (~2.66 kg/m2 h) and salt crystallization from seawater can be achieved in such an integrated system under one sun illumination. In addition, the solar cell operates in a much lower temperature at around 48 oC, which is much lower than previous work. The advanced performance is attributed to the utilization of a highly porous and thinner hydrophobic membrane. This design provides a new strategy to address the challenge of water-energy nexus.
Date of AwardNov 2019
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorPeng Wang (Supervisor)


  • Solar cooling
  • Photovoltaic
  • Clean water production
  • Zero-liquid-discharge
  • Membrane-distillation
  • Desalination

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