Energy-efficient Manufacturing In Boston: A Path To Increased Profits – Passive solar evaporation systems can be used to purify wastewater, provide usable water, or sterilize medical equipment in offline areas.
Title: MIT researchers have developed a solar-efficient desalination system that is more efficient and cheaper than previous methods. In this scheme, the condensate layer above the floating thermal insulation enables simultaneous thermal localization and salt rejection.
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Energy-efficient Manufacturing In Boston: A Path To Increased Profits
Caption: The photo on the left shows the structure of the reservoir. On the right, the infrared image shows a layer of water trapped under the same sunlight. Thermal energy is localized in the confined water layer.
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MIT researchers have developed a solar-powered desalination system that is more efficient and cheaper than previous methods. In this scheme, the condensate layer above the floating thermal insulation enables simultaneous thermal localization and salt rejection.
The photo on the left shows the structure of the confluence layer. On the right, the infrared image shows a layer of water trapped under the same sunlight. Thermal energy is localized in the confined water layer.
About two-thirds of humanity is affected by water shortages, and many areas in developing countries also face a shortage of reliable electricity. Therefore, extensive research efforts have focused on ways to neutralize seawater or stagnant water using solar heat. Many such efforts have encountered problems with equipment faults caused by salt spills, which often add to the complexity and cost.
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Researchers at MIT and in China are now finding solutions to the problem of salt accumulation, and in the process have developed a more efficient and cheaper desalination system than previous solar desalination methods. This process can also be used to treat contaminated wastewater or to generate steam for sterilizing medical devices without requiring any energy source other than sunlight.
In the paper are MIT graduate Lenan Zhang, postdoc Xiangyu Li, professor of mechanical engineering Evelyn Wang and four others.
“There are a lot of demonstrations of high-efficiency salt release design and solar energy release,” said Wang. Of various devices. “The challenge is the salt problem that people do not solve. So we see a number of these attractive practices, but often they are limited due to their longevity. In the long run, things will get worse. ”
Many attempts in solar drainage systems rely on some type of wick to pull salt water through the device, but these wicks are vulnerable to salt accumulation and difficult to clean. The team focused on creating a virus-free system instead. The result is a layer system with a dark material on top to absorb solar heat, then a thin layer of water above the cracked layer sits on a deep reservoir of salt water, such as a tank or pond. After careful calculation and experimentation, the researchers determined the optimal size for the holes drilled through the perforated material, which in their test was made of polyurethane. At a distance of 2.5 mm, these holes can be easily made using the common sprayer.
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The holes are large enough to allow natural airflow between the top layer of water and the cooler reservoir below. The circulation draws salt from a thin layer from top to bottom into a larger body of water, where it becomes well-mixed and no longer a problem. “It allows us to achieve high efficiency and even prevent salt accumulation,” said Wang, a Ford professor of engineering and head of the mechanical engineering department.
“The advantages of this system are” both high performance and reliable operation, especially under extreme conditions where we can work with near-saturated salt water, “Li said. “And that means it is also very useful for wastewater treatment.”
He added that much of the work on such solar metabolism is focused on novel materials. “But in our case, we use really cheap house materials.” The key, he says, is the analysis and understanding of the convective flow that drives this completely passive system. “People say you always need expensive new materials or complex structures or bad structures to do it. And this is what I believe to be the first to do. This without bad structure.
This new approach “provides a successful and efficient path for the desalination of highly saline solutions and could be a game changer in solar water desalination,” said Hadi Ghasemi, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Houston. With this work. “More work is required for the evaluation of the concept in large and long-term settings,” he added.
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As the hot air and cold air fall into the natural air, the desalination process in the device is explained, Zhang explains. In the confined water layer near the top, “evaporation occurs at the very top interface. Because of the salt, the density of the water at the upper interface is higher and the water at the bottom has a lower density. “So this is the original driving force for this natural transformation, because the high density at the top pushes the salinity down.” Water evaporating from the above system can be collected on the condensing surface, providing pure fresh water.
The removal of salts into the bottom water can also cause heat loss in the process, so protection requires careful engineering, including the removal of perforated layers out of highly insulated material to retain heat concentrated above. Solar heating at the top is achieved through a simple layer of black paint.
This gif shows the fluid flow seen by soaking food. The left side shows the slow transport of colored de-ionized water from the top to most of the water. The right side shows the fast transport of colored salt water from top to bottom, driven by the influence of natural currents.
So far, the team has come up with the idea of using small devices, so the next step will be to start expanding the size of the device that can have practical applications. They say that based on their calculations, a system of just 1 square meter (about one square meter) should be enough to supply a household’s daily needs for drinking water. Zhang says they have calculated that the necessary materials for a 1-square-meter device cost only $ 4.
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Li says their test equipment runs for a week without any signs of salt accumulation. And the device is remarkably stable. “Even if we apply some extreme disturbance, such as waves on the sea or lake,” such a device can be installed as a floating platform, “it can return to its original position very quickly,” he said. .
The work needed to translate evidence of the laboratory’s size into viable commercial equipment and to improve overall water production rates should be possible within a few years, Zhang said. Initial applications are likely to provide safe water in remote off-site locations or for disaster relief after storms, earthquakes, or other disruptions to normal water supply.
“If we can focus a little bit of sunlight, we can use this passive device to generate high-temperature steam for medical sterilization,” Zhang said.
“I think one of the real opportunities is developing countries,” Wang said. “I think that’s where the most likely impact is in the near future because of the simplicity of the design.” But she added: “If we really want to get it out of there, we also have to work with end users to really be able to accept the way we design it so that they are willing to use it.”
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“This is a new strategy towards tackling salt accumulation in solar evaporation,” said Peng Wang, a professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia who was not involved in the study. “. “This luxurious design will drive innovation in the design of advanced solar evaporators. This strategy is very successful due to its high energy efficiency, operational durability and low cost, which contribute to the production of low-cost and passive freshwater to produce fresh water from various high-salt water sources, e.g. Brine, salt water, or stagnant groundwater. ”
The group also includes Yang Zhong, Arny Leroy and Lin Zhao at MIT and Zhenyuan Xu at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. This work is supported by the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, US-Egypt Science and Technology Joint Fund and utilizes equipment supported by the National Science Foundation.
Miriam Fauzia reports that MIT researchers have developed a solar water system that “avoids salt build-up and can provide families with continuous drinking water for as little as $ 4.”
. “Researchers hope to develop their device into something
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