Research Papers

Experimental and Computational Fluid Dynamics Studies on Dehumidifier in a Combined Cooling and Desalination Plant

[+] Author and Article Information
Suraj Marale, C. Chiranjeevi, T. Srinivas

CO2 Research and Green Technologies Centre,
VIT University,
Vellore 632014, Tamil Nadu, India

R. ThundilKaruppa Raj

School of Mechanical Engineering,
VIT University,
Vellore 632014, Tamil Nadu, India

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF THERMAL SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING APPLICATIONS. Manuscript received December 10, 2015; final manuscript received August 16, 2016; published online October 11, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Dr. Zahid Ayub.

J. Thermal Sci. Eng. Appl 9(1), 011007 (Oct 11, 2016) (10 pages) Paper No: TSEA-15-1349; doi: 10.1115/1.4034596 History: Received December 10, 2015; Revised August 16, 2016

Humidification–dehumidification (HDH) desalination is a simple technique to produce desalinated water from saline water. Dehumidifier is a key component in the HDH system, which influences the desalination yield. In the current work, a three-dimensional multiphase numerical simulation study is carried out on third dehumidifier alone to evaluate its performance using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code. The simulation result is validated with experimental readings, and it is found that there exists a very close agreement between the predicted and the experimental readings. The key parameters influencing the dehumidifier performance are chilled water temperature, humid air temperature, and volume fraction. Experiments are carried out on the combined two stage HDH plant at different hot water temperature and flow rates. A detailed study of dehumidification process is carried out using ansys cfx 15.0 tool by solving the governing equations, namely, mass, momentum, and energy, with turbulence modeled through shear stress transport (SST) k–ω model of closure. Multiphase is solved using a free-surface multiphase model. The measured average cooled air temperature and relative humidity (RH) at the exit of third dehumidifier are 21 °C and 67%. The desalinated water produced at a hot water flow of 100 LPH is found as 2205 ml/h from the experiments. The CFD results are deviated by 0.41%, 6.45%, and −0.70% with that of experimental results at the dehumidifier for air temperature, velocity, and chilled water temperature, respectively.

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Fig. 1

Two-stage desalination and cooling plant

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Fig. 2

Experimental setup of two-stage HDH desalination and cooling pilot plant

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Fig. 3

Assembly model of dehumidifier

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Fig. 4

Unstructured (wire frame) mesh model of dehumidifier air and solid domains

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Fig. 5

Structured meshing model (magnified view) of heat exchanger tube

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Fig. 6

Velocity streamline for humidified air

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Fig. 7

Velocity streamline for cold water

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Fig. 8

Temperature contour of air at the outlet of dehumidifier

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Fig. 9

Temperature contour of chilled water in tubes

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Fig. 10

Temperature contour of baffles

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Fig. 11

Temperature contour of heat exchanger tube

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Fig. 12

Volume fraction contour of air

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Fig. 13

Volume fraction contour of water vapor

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Fig. 14

Volume fraction contour of water at bottom plane



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