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Heat and Mass Transfer for the Diffusion Driven Desalination Process

DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.2004.IntThermSciSemin.60
pages 69-77

James F. Klausner
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida

Yi Li
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Ren-Wei Mei
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, 32611-6250, USA


An innovative Diffusion Driven Desalination (DDD) process was recently described where evaporation of mineralized water is driven by diffusion within a packed bed. The energy source to drive the process is derived from low pressure condensing steam within the main condenser of a steam power generating plant. Since waste heat is used to drive the process, the main cost of fresh water production is attributed to the energy cost of pumping air and water through the packed bed. This work describes the heat and mass transfer analysis required to size and analyze the packed bed. The analysis is also very useful for the design and analysis of cooling towers, and does not rely on questionable assumptions used in previous analyses. A heat and mass transfer analogy is used to predict the heat transfer coefficients from a well-tested correlation for mass transfer in packed beds. An experimental diffusion tower has been fabricated, and temperature and humidity data have been collected over a range of flow conditions. The analysis agrees very well with the current data and that which has been reported in the literature.

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