Simulation of heat and mass transfer in Suns River solar distillation

Houman Azari, University of Texas at El Paso


Many regions around the world have limited fresh water resources, and we need to desalinate brackish water resources for drinking and irrigation purposes. Most of the world is also facing energy challenges which encourages engineers and scientists to use renewable energy resources instead of hydrocarbon fuels. Arid regions such as the Middle East, many African countries, and the southwestern United States typically have abundant solar irradiance and brackish or saline water supplies. Solar-thermal desalination could be an important supply of fresh water in these regions. The classic solar still is not efficient for providing large amounts of clean water for drinking and irrigation purposes. KII Inc. is a private American company that has developed a new type of solar still, called the Suns River Still (SRS), which has a solar evaporator separated from an active distillate condenser. The latest prototype was tested by KII Inc. at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF) in Alamogordo, NM. The goal of this thesis research was to analyze the performance of the SRS to identify opportunities to further improve the performance of the still. The energy efficiency of the still was observed to be 83%, and analysis of heat losses revealed that 86% of losses were due to radiation from the solar window. Use of low-emissivity glass would significantly decrease heat loss, but may not be worthwhile due to a lower transmissivity and decreased capture of solar energy.

Subject Area

Civil engineering|Water Resource Management|Environmental engineering

Recommended Citation

Azari, Houman, "Simulation of heat and mass transfer in Suns River solar distillation" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1583893.